STORY: Forensic personnel were seen working at the cordoned-off crime site at Enyobeni Tavern.
State broadcaster SABC reported the deaths resulted from a possible stampede, but was scant on details as the exact causes of death remained unknown.
The bodies will be transported to state mortuaries where relatives are expected to help identify victims, said Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department.
Autopsies will be carried out on the bodies to ascertain the probable cause of death, officials said, including toxicology tests.
Expressing his condolences to affected families, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was worried about the circumstances under which young people, potentially under the age of 18 years, were allowed to gather at the tavern. Ramaphosa said in a statement the law must take its course once investigations conclude.