Enyobeni tavern cause of death

The death toll increased to 21, after a critically-ill victim died in hospital – Photo: Twitter/Jurie Blignaut

Enyobeni tavern: FOUR possible causes of death ‘under investigation’

With 21 children deceased, establishing the official cause of death in the Enyobeni tavern tragedy has become a top priority.

Enyobeni tavern cause of death

The death toll increased to 21, after a critically-ill victim died in hospital – Photo: Twitter/Jurie Blignaut

In what has been described as one of the most tragic incidents in South Africa’s democratic era, 21 minors who gained access to the Enyobeni tavern in East London this weekend all died at the venue, under mysterious circumstances. However, the cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Enyobeni tavern updates: Official version of events ‘due soon’

On Wednesday, more information emerged from sources including pathologists, provincial health departments, and anonymous officials. They have all presented theories which both overlap AND vary from each other. The official toxicology reports are due later in the week.

For now, the Enyobeni disaster remains consumed by speculation. But the answers we are all seeking are likely to come sooner rather than later. As it stands, there are FOUR possible causes of death that are being looked into by the experts. Here’s what you need to know…

Suspected causes of death from the Enyobeni tavern disaster

Carbon monoxide poisoning

The South African has asked the Eastern Cape Department of Health if carbon monoxide poisoning caused the Enyobeni tavern deaths, as several sources reported earlier on Wednesday. Some experts now suspect the teenagers inhaled, drink or smoked something poisonous.

The most likely substance has been flagged as carbon monoxide. However, the Health Department’s spokesperson Mkhululi Ndamase has told us they are not in a position to disclose the full details – particularly as they await a report, which is due on Thursday, 30 June 2022.

A gas explosion

Government pathologist Solomon Zondi told Sunday World that it appears ‘something gaseous exploded’ on the bottom floor of the venue, leading to mass asphyxiation. Although bodies were found in other rooms above, it’s believed that Enyobeni’s security staff moved them up there.

“Something gaseous exploded somewhere at the ground floor and caused asphyxiation. We are just waiting for toxicology to confirm what we are suspecting. The bodies that we picked up on the top floor were actually carried up by the bouncers.”

Solomon Zondi

The associated consequences of load shedding

A report from News24 has cited sources as saying that the youngsters could have been killed by toxic fumes that may have emanated from a petrol generator that was suspected to have been used inside the tavern – which allegedly came into use when power cuts were experienced.

If so, this could be one of the deadliest incidents caused as a direct consequence of load shedding. However, this theory has already been challenged by one Health Department official, who says that it would be ‘highly unlikely’ for this to be the case.

Was it something they drank?

“Some had chicken wings and some chicken feet, some had rice and others carbohydrates meals, but for some it was pure alcohol. So, the stomach contents were not uniform, but we are not ruling out something that was ingested.” 

Solomon Zondo