President Ramaphosa condemns sale of alcohol to underage children

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned liquor establishments who put profits before the lives of children of the country. 

Delivering a eulogy at the mass funeral service in East London of the teenagers, whose lives were cut short during the Enyobeni tavern tragedy in Scenery Park in the early hours of Sunday, 26 June 2022, President Ramaphosa told mourners that government has a strong message to send to all establishments breaking the law, leading to tragedies such as those witnessed at Enyobeni tavern.

The President told mourners gathered at the Scenery Park Sports Field that it is not yet known what led to these tragic deaths.

“Blame must be laid at the feet of those who are making money off the dreams and lives of the young people of South Africa by breaking the law and selling them alcohol. Any liquor outlet that sells alcohol to underage children must be permanently closed.

“We have seen the pictures and videos on social media of young men and women in Enyobeni tavern on the night of 26 June 2022. Children should not have been allowed inside that place, a place of adults. They should not have been served alcohol,” the President said.

WATCH | Funeral service of of East Lond youths          

The President called on communities to join their local community policing forums and to work with law enforcement by reporting violations of the law.

“If you are breaking the law, you will be shut down,” the President emphasised.

He further called on the people of Scenery Park and all communities facing social ills to help take back their communities not just from establishments illegally selling alcohol to children, but from all forms of crime.

“What happened on the 26th of June 2022, in Scenery Park was a crime. We share a responsibility as a people to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again. What was happening was illegal,” he said.

The President said across East London and the entire country, there are liquor establishments putting profits before the lives of children.

The scourge of underage drinking

President Ramaphosa bemoaned that the country is losing a future generation to the scourge of underage drinking.

“We cannot continue losing the future of our country to alcohol. Alcohol is highly addictive. It is something to be consumed in moderation and responsibly, and only by those who are of legal age to do so, and mature enough to handle its effects,” he said.

The President said alcohol abuse leads to many social problems, such as gender-based violence, sex crimes, interpersonal violence, murders and road deaths.

He said the bodies and brains of young people are still growing and changing, therefore they are “too young to understand the fine line between having a good time, and becoming addicted”.

“When young people abuse alcohol, they miss school. They fall behind in their learning. They get into fights and into trouble. They get depressed easily and have thoughts of suicide.

“Like I said, 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. Many young people under the age of 18 were drinking alcohol that had been sold to them. The youngest child who died in this tragedy was just 13 years old,” the President said.

The President further reiterated that the law is clear and alcohol may not be sold or served to anyone under the age of 18.

He said owners of establishments that are permitted to sell alcohol have to ensure that anyone they sell alcohol to is over the age of 18 by asking for IDs.

WATCH |Full funeral service 


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