Nine killed by lethal moonshine mixes in Eastern Cape

Nine people in the province have died in the space of a week after drinking lethal home brews.
Nine people in the province have died in the space of a week after drinking lethal home brews.
Image: FILE

The strict ban on the sale of alcohol during the Covid-19 lockdown has proved deadly for some in the Eastern Cape.

Nine people in the province have died in the space of a week after drinking lethal moonshine.

Three people from Ndakana administrative area, near Stutterheim, died after consuming an alcoholic home brew on Saturday.

It is believed that after drinking the concoction, a number of people were rushed to hospital complaining of stomach ache.

The three fatalities came just days after the deaths of six others.

Three people died in Bumbane village, Keiskammahoek, and three at Nonibe village, outside King William’s Town, last week.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci appealed to all community members not to experiment with homemade beer and alcoholic mixtures as they could be lethal or cause permanent damage.

“Police have opened several dockets in different communities in connection with people drinking some concoctions.

“The SA Police Service can confirm that inquest dockets have been opened for investigation after the death of three people at Nonibe outside King William’s Town and another three people at Bumbane in Keiskammahoek [last] week.

“Another three cases are under investigation by Stutterheim SAPS,” said Soci.

In the Stutterheim case, two people were declared dead at the scene while the third died on the way to hospital.

Mayor of the Stutterheim-based Amahlathi municipality, Agnes Hobo, arranged a minibus to transport those who drank the concoction to hospital.

“Some were willing to go to hospital for a check-up but others were refusing,” she said.

“This should be a warning that these homemade drinks are dangerous. People can die from drinking them.”

Hobo warned people to stop making the concoctions.

The area’s councillor, Mooi Nqini, also warned against homemade alcohol.

“We try  to stop the practice. People need to know the mix they are drinking is not good for their health and it can kill.”

Some of the survivors were still visibly drunk when HeraldLIVE's sister publication DispatchLIVE visited the area on Saturday night.

They said after consuming the homemade beer, they felt dizzy and later started vomiting. Some collapsed.

Thembisa Geniwe said: “We buy these ingredients from the local shops. It tastes like normal alcohol and has hangover effects.

“It’s cheaper because for R50 four people can get very drunk from the brew. We know it’s dangerous but we drink it.”

In Bumbane last week, a 50-year-old man and his friends made moonshine.

He immediately doubled over with stomach cramps. He was rushed to hospital but died.

The second case was that of a 44-year-old man who died while being attended to by hospital staff after drinking a similar concoction brewed at another house.

The third was a 35-year-old woman.

After also complaining of stomach ache, she collapsed and died at her home.

Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the deaths.


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