Enyobeni Tavern Owners slapped With R5,000 Each

Enyobeni Tavern owner and his operational manager have been slapped with fines of R5,000 each, or face 100 days behind bars, for the unlawful sale of alcohol to a minor.

Vuyokazi and her husband Siyakhangela Ndevu, were arraigned before the court following an incident where a 17-year-old testified to purchasing alcohol from the establishment.

Magistrate Kevin von Bratt, presiding over the case, handed down the sentence on Friday, following the duo’s conviction earlier in the week.

However, recognizing the financial strain this penalty might pose, Von Bratt announced that arrangements would be made through the Prisoners Friend system to facilitate deferred payment over a suitable period.

The Enyobeni Tavern gained infamy in June 2022 when 21 schoolchildren tragically lost their lives during a gathering.

Authorities attributed the fatalities to suffocation due to overcrowding, prompting widespread community outrage and calls for accountability.

While acknowledging the community’s rightful indignation over the tragic incident, Von Bratt emphasized that the current case solely pertained to a violation of the Liquor Act and not to the broader issue of responsibility for the minors’ deaths, which remains under investigation.

Read | Results out for investigation into cause of death for Enyobeni Tavern victims

“The court’s major issue,” Von Bratt stated, “is the evident lack of control in a business dealing with liquor, posing serious social ramifications, particularly concerning underage access to alcohol.”

Highlighting the lax measures to prevent minors from entering the premises, Von Bratt underscored the “enormous risk” posed by the absence of adequate supervision.

Although the Ndevus were not directly involved in the sale of alcohol on the evening in question, Von Bratt noted the “woeful” control measures at the tavern and stressed the court’s obligation to act based on established facts.

Meanwhile, a cashier who was on duty during the fatal gathering had previously paid an admission of guilt fine in November.