Ten die in North West tavern stampede

2011-01-02 11:34

Ten people died in a horrific stampede at a New Year’s day celebration in Ipelegeng, outside Schweizer-Reneke in North West.

Police called for calm last night, fearing rising tensions in the community.

“We request the community to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands,” read a statement released by provincial police spokesperson Captain Adele Myburgh.

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

Circumstances surrounding the incident and the ages of the deceased were still unknown by late afternoon.

Provincial Public Safety department spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said most of the deceased were underage, but Myburgh disputed this.

She said it could not be confirmed, as some of them had not been identified. Police suspected they were between 18 and 25-years-old.

The stampede occurred at the entrance to the tavern’s dance area at 2:15am, said Myburgh.

The tavern was a popular nightspot in the township.

Authorities could not confirm that a fight among patrons led to the stampede.

A local pastor Enock Ramfate visited the tavern after the incident.

“The bodies were still there and were covered with their clothe ...  People were very angry,” he said.

“There is a sadness within the community and it has affected the people in a very serious way.”

Ipelegeng Mayor Kenneth Pshipelo said the township was in a state of shock and disbelief.

“It’s not something that has occurred in this community before and people are taken aback.
“The situation is calm right now...but this is the first and worst incident we have ever had.”
A government delegation was expected to visit the affected families and pass on their condolences late on Saturday, he said. - Sapa

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