I was called ‘baby’ by young girls, says Enyobeni witness

Siya Ndevu and his wife, Vuyokazi Ndevu who own the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park during the court proceedings. PICTURE: ABONGILE GINYA

“Now that the urine smells are gone, we are at peace, we are happy, and we are sleeping peacefully. It was not nice to have your yard covered with urine, sanitary pads, and empty beer bottles as a result of underage patrons of the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park getting drunk.”

These are the remarks of Mncedisi George Kwinana, a resident of Scenery Park and a witness in the Enyobeni Tavern tragedy case.

This was revealed on Tuesday at the East London Magistrate’s Court when Siya Ndevu and his wife Vuyokazi Ndevu made a second appearance in court in relation to the allegations they are facing. They are the owners of the Enyobeni tavern where 21 underage patrons died in June of last year.

Kwinana (67), who moved to Scenery Park in 1992, was cross-examined by the Ndevus’ lawyer, but he remained steadfast since he spoke about what he observed with his own eyes every weekend because he is a neighbour of this tavern.

He said there were times when he witnessed the patrons having sex in his backyard. Additionally, he disclosed that he would be awake at dawn because he had not slept a wink due to noises coming from below his window and people using his bathroom without his permission because his yard was unfenced.

Before the incident, Kwinana admitted that he would also go to Enyobeni for a drink, but he stopped going because he was constantly being called “baby” and inappropriately touched by girls who were younger than his own children.

This witness went on to explain that he complained to Ndevu about the noise and littering in his yard, and that Ndevu advised him to fence his yard because he was unable to control the people. He went on to add that as residents, they organised a meeting and invited Ndevu, but he did not appear, stating that anyone who wanted him should go to him.

He said that they eventually called a meeting with the police and the liquor board to voice their complaints about this establishment, but the tragedy occurred before they could hear from the police about the safety measures they should have done.

He continued by saying that he was at his house on the day of the children’s death, and he peered in when he heard screaming that the children were dying, despite the fact that he never entered the tavern.

Throughout the proceedings in court, Ndevu and his wife were constantly speaking in whispers and grinning at each other. They would even laugh along with the witness when they said something amusing.

Despite not attending as frequently as they once did, the parents were present.

One of the parents outside the court, Sidima Rangile, thanked people in attendance for their support and said that it is not a pleasant day for them since it is a day that is particularly painful for them because they lost their children on that day.

Zonke Mgangala, one of the parents’ advocates, stated that it was the first time they had left court in peace since the case began. She said that things are going well and that they are pleased with the witness, Mr. Kwinana.

Mgangala made an appeal to the youth present at Enyobeni that day, urging them to testify since it would be better if they did so, and the case would be more compelling. She said that they have been guaranteed that people who are afraid yet ready to testify would be able to do so since the law has provisions for them, and they will be protected.

Enyobeni opened in 2011 but was shut down last year as a result of the tragedy. Parents are still awaiting the findings of their children’s post-mortem examinations since they are still unsure of what caused the children’s deaths.

The case will be heard at the East London Magistrate’s Court on May 23 and 24.