Shots and fight might have led to deadly tavern tragedy

2015-06-30 11:13
The tavern where the tragedy took place. The collapsed staircase can be seen on the side of the venue. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

The tavern where the tragedy took place. The collapsed staircase can be seen on the side of the venue. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Shots apparently fired inside a Khayelitsha tavern at the weekend are what led to a stampede and the deaths of eight young women, reports said on Tuesday.

A 19-year-old survivor of the tragedy at Osi’s Place in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, told the Cape Times that shots were fired just after 02:00 and a fight had broken out outside the venue.

The survivor, Grade 12 pupil Yanelisa Sulelo, said the tavern was so full of people “we could hardly walk inside the place”.

Sulelo told Times Live she and dozens of other pupils had gone to celebrate after finishing their exams. Her best friend, 19-year-old Abulele Nkepu, died in the incident.

One of the youngest victims of the disaster was Anathi Zokufa who was celebrating her 15th birthday, News24 reported.  

“She was a very happy child and nothing was wrong. She always used to talk with us and make jokes. She wanted to be a lawyer,” her father Zamikhaya Zokhufa said.

The eight victims were aged between 15 and 23 and two of them were killed when the vehicle they were transported in crashed on the way to hospital.

Six people, between the ages of 17 and 24, were injured.

Police had opened an inquest docket to determine if anyone could be held responsible for the deaths.

Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, also told Eyewitness News that officials will investigate whether minors were allowed into Osi’s Place.

The city's safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith told News24 only the police could enforce the Liquor Act.

"If it is true that there were under-aged children drinking in the tavern, then the Saps need to prosecute the owner for the violations of the Liquor Act," he said.

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