3 Arrests Made in Connection to Mysterious Nightclub Death of 21 Young People in South Africa

Police tapePolice tape
Getty Images

The bar owner and two employees of the club connected to the unsolved deaths of 21 young people have been arrested for allegedly bypassing alcohol regulations.

Three people have been arrested following the deaths of 21 young people in a South African bar last month, according to authorities.

The 52-year-old owner of the bar and two employees, 33 and 34, were recently taken into custody, according to CBS News.

The trio allegedly breached alcohol sale regulations, and the owner will appear in court on August 19 on charges related to selling or supplying alcohol to minors. The two employees each have a 2,000-rand — equivalent to $118 USD —  fine to pay, police said in a statement. 

The 21 young individuals, most of whom were teens, died on June 26 at the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park — a township in East London. 

According to the outlet, the cause of their death remains unclear.

Survivors of the event have described a battle to escape the jam-packed venue, with one reporting a suffocating smell.

Sinovuyo Monyane, 19, told AFP she struggled to escape through a door at the same time as several others. 

"We tried moving through the crowd, shouting 'please let us through,' and others were shouting 'we are dying, guys,' and 'we are suffocating' and 'there are people who can't breathe,'" she told the outlet.

According to officials, a stampede has been ruled out, but they have not concluded their investigation, and autopsy results have not been made public. 

"Just as we said in the beginning, investigation is a process and needs to be treated with extreme care and wisdom so that we can achieve the desired outcomes," Eastern Cape provincial commissioner Nomthetheleli Mene said in a statement.

At a memorial service last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa blamed the deaths on the "scourge of underage drinking" and vowed to crack down on "unscrupulous" bar owners who bypass regulations, according to CBS News. 

"We do not know yet exactly what killed our children. But we do know that the law was broken that night, and probably many nights before then," Ramaphosa said.

Related Stories