Stampede case postponed

2011-01-03 11:33

The case against the owner of a tavern, where 10 people died in a New Year’s day stampede, was postponed to Friday in the Schweizer-Reneke Magistrates Court.

James Thembiso Lepholletse (47) appeared briefly today facing culpable homicide charges.

“He will remain in custody until then,” police spokesperson Captain Adele Myburgh told Sapa.

Dozens of people had converged outside the courthouse but no protests were reported.

“There were a lot of people there including various media. Police are still monitoring,” she said.

Seven men and three women, aged between 18 and 25, were trampled to death at the Basotho tavern in Ipelegeng at 2am on Saturday.

The exact cause of the incident was still unclear.

Anger was reportedly mounting in the township and residents were urged to remain calm.

“We request the community to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands,” Myburgh said after the incident.

“People must act responsibly in assisting the police with their investigation.”

The SA Communist Party today also called for calm in the area and sent its condolences to the families.

“We will follow up to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their irresponsible actions,” said provincial spokesperson Kaizer Mohau.

The deceased were identified as Tshomo Ditloko, Lebogang Moyake, Samuel Mogokare, Boy Maano, Seoka Montshiwagae, Bongani Malantwa, Isaac Mothupi, Mpho Mokwena, Kelebogile Maruping and Mapitso Makhobosi.

The incident was reminiscent of the Throb nightclub tragedy in Durban’s Chatsworth suburb where 13 children died on March 24, 2000.

The youngest victim was 11 years old.

The day of horror erupted when a teargas canister was thrown onto the club’s dance floor on the last day of the first school term.

Frantic school children attending the matinee tried to get out and it led to a stampede.

The canister was thrown by two employees of a rival club, Vincent Pillay and Selvan “Dogman” Naidoo, who served five-and-a-half years for 13 counts of culpable homicide and the unlawful possession of a teargas canister.

The club owner, Siva Chetty, was released from prison in 2006 after serving six years of a nine-year-and-nine-month sentence for 13 counts of culpable homicide.

The incident made headlines around the world.?

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