Three more people have died in the Eastern Cape after drinking lethal home-brewed alcohol concoctions.
The strict ban on the sale of alcohol during the Covid-19 lockdown has proved to be particularly deadly in the Eastern Cape where a total of 19 people had died since the hard lockdown after drinking the lethal drink, dubbed moonshine locally.
The three people died on Tuesday after consuming the drink at a party in Ntabozuko, formerly known as Berlin, in the Buffalo City Metro.
The country had been hit with four alcohol bans since lockdown began 16 months ago.
During the first liquor ban, the number of deaths related to consumption of moonshine was at 16, in May 2020.
Police spokesperson Thembinkosi Kinana said police had opened an inquest docket for investigation following the fatal incident.
“Police can confirm that three people died after consuming homemade brew in Lingelitsha, Berlin. The circumstances surrounding the incidents are unknown [at] this stage. Police have opened an inquest for investigation. No arrests have been made as yet and the investigation continues,” Kinana said.
The Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) said it had identified 249 illegal breweries and taverns in the province and reported them to the police.
Kinana could not immediately confirm if there were any investigations underway into the illegal establishments.
ECLB spokesperson Mgwebi Msiya said: “We strongly condemn this behaviour of people who consume homemade beer, which has proven to be very fatal. We, in partnership with Saps, are currently investigating this incident and necessary action will be taken against people who are found to have been responsible for the loathful behaviour.”
The board said it had been criss-crossing the province undergoing operations and campaigns with the police to shut the illegal makers of moonshine.
Msiya added: “Eastern Cape Liquor Board inspectors are closely monitoring the illegal sale of liquor or homemade beer in our province. We have also invested a lot of effort in educating our people about this behaviour and we will intensify our monitoring mechanism to ensure that this incident does not recur.”
The Eastern Cape health department previously revealed that the ingredients of the home-brewed concoction include methylated spirit.
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