Owner of SA mass deaths bar appears in court

Source: BBC

The owner of a bar in South Africa where 21 young people died in mysterious circumstances has appeared in court for the first time.

Siyakhangela Ngevu is charged with contravening the liquor act by selling alcohol to minors.

The group of mainly teenagers died at Enyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape last month.

It is thought they had been celebrating the end of their exams, with the youngest aged just 13.

Mr Ngevu did not enter a plea at this initial court hearing, and the matter has been postponed until 2 September.

He has previously said he was not at the tavern on the night of the tragedy, when more than 20 young people collapsed and died.

While carbon monoxide and alcohol have been ruled out as a cause of death, the case has raised questions about underage drinking in South Africa – a country with high levels of binge drinking.

Some parents say they are angry that authorities have not yet established what killed their children or released the full results of forensics tests.

The government now says it will give them the results by the end of August.

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