Health officials and the President said on Sunday that the South African authorities are investigating the deaths of at least 22 young people found in a popular tavern in the coastal city of East London.
The SABC state announcer reported the deaths resulting from the possibility of panic, but details are limited because the exact cause of death remained unknown.
A spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department-Siyanda Manana said all of the dead bodies will be transferred to state mortuaries. All of the relatives were then allowed to identify their loved ones.
He also said that to know the actual cause of death, we are going for autopsies. On the other hand, forensic personnel cordoned off the crime site at Enyobeni tavern and continued their work.
Manana said they are taking 22 bodies for the toxicology tests for the time being.
The President, Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed his condolences to the families whose loved ones have gone. But he also seemed anxious about the circumstances under which teenagers of fewer than 18 years were allowed to gather at the tavern.
He also directed law enforcement agencies to take strict action once investigations are concluded.
A 17-year-old girl named Lolly, who used to live near the tavern, said that this venue was a popular hangout with teenagers. On the other hand, the community wanted to shut down this venue after a tragic incident.
Everyone wants this tavern to close down because it sells alcohol to minors.
All of the people are sad and angry because of this incident.
Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said the police had been alerted by members of the public to the incident in the landscape park, about three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the city center.
“What happened can be assimilated into a massacre,” said the mayor of East London, Xola Pakati in a press release.