Cele to visit Soweto tavern mass shooting site


Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, will on Monday 11 July receive a full report on the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 15 people at a tavern in Soweto on Saturday night.

The mass tavern shooting was one of three reported in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend.

The Soweto shooting occurred at the Nomzamo informal settlement in Orlando East. Another two people were also shot and killed at a tavern in Katlehong on the same evening. In the same night, four people were shot dead and eight others injured when gunmen stormed a Pietermaritzburg tavern and opened fire.

The Pietermaritzburg shooting occurred at Samkelisiwe tavern in Sweetwaters.

In a statement, provincial police said the incident happened at about 8.30pm on Saturday.

“Two men entered the tavern and randomly opened fire on the patrons, resulting in at least 12 people being shot. Two people died at the scene and two died later, while the other eight have been admitted in hospital for treatment,” said SAPS spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala.

The deceased are aged between 30 and 45. She said police are investigating charges of murder and attempted murder.

A high-level investigative team has since been deployed to investigate the shooting.

Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, has condemned the shooting. Members of Crime Intelligence, forensic experts, as well as a tactical unit, have been deployed to form part of an investigation team, led by the Provincial Organised Crime Investigation Unit.

“The team will be working around the clock to track down and bring to book those responsible for this shooting. In the meantime, we are appealing to anyone who may be able to assist with information, which could assist police in the successful investigation of this case,” said Mkhwanazi.

In Katlehong, according to reports, four unknown gunmen allegedly entered the tavern and fired shots in the direction of a snooker table, where there were patrons.

eNCA reports that the four men began shooting randomly at patrons.

Police Ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said following the high-level meeting, which will also be attended by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Fannie Masemola, a site visit to the crime scene will be conducted.

“The high-level meeting, which is closed to the media, will take place at the Orlando police station,” she said.

The shootings come amid a sharp focus on security at taverns across the country following the death of 21 teenagers at a pub in Eastern London.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on law enforcement agencies to take swift action against the perpetrators of the two shooting incidents over the weekend.

“As a nation, we cannot allow violent criminals to terrorise us in this way, regardless of where such incidents may occur. As government, citizens and structures of civil society we must all work together even more closely to improve social and economic conditions in communities, reduce violent crime and stamp out the illicit circulation of firearms,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President sent his condolences to the grieving families and wished a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

“Every single violent death is unacceptable and worrying, and killings on the scale we have seen in Soweto, Pietermaritzburg and previously Khayelitsha must spur us into a collective effort to build communities and make South Africa an unsafe place for criminals,” he said.