Sunday tavern fun ends in death

2015-07-02 06:00
By Tuesday morning residents and outsiders still milled around Osi’s Tavern, still shocked at the tragedy that befell patrons early on Sunday morning, following a stampede that led to the death of Eight youngsters.
Mbongiseni Maseko

By Tuesday morning residents and outsiders still milled around Osi’s Tavern, still shocked at the tragedy that befell patrons early on Sunday morning, following a stampede that led to the death of Eight youngsters. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Claims of gunshots having been fired shortly before a staircase collapsed-killing a number of patrons at Osi’s Place-have emerged in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Eight young women-most of them underage-were killed and others injured after a staircase railing collapsed in the early hours of Sunday morning, in Makhaza.

Two of the victims died on the scene, and two died on their way to Khayelitsha District Hospital after the car that was transporting them was involved in an accident, while the others were certified dead on arrival at the hospital.

Those who sustained injuries were treated in hospitals.

However, Lieutenant Siyabulela Vukubi, of Harare police station, said the police were not aware of any shorts being fired at the tavern.

The women were between the ages of 15 and 23.

Nomafrench Mbombo, MEC for Health in the province, visited the place on Monday in the company of other political leaders in the province. Mbombo condemned the selling of alcohol to children and said the liquor licence of the owner of the tavern would be suspended pending the investigation.

“It is tragic and unfortunate that young people lose their lives in such a way. It is illegal to sell alcohol to underage children. It also seems this place was quite full. The place was also open at a time when it should have been closed.

Mbombo sent her and the Western Cape government’s condolences to the families of the deceased.

She invited residents to work together to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Mbombo also encouraged the youth in the area to avail themselves for the opportunities made available by the government, such as bursaries to ensure that they get into the programmes that are designed to uplift their lives.

Vuyolwethu Mbono, Athi Zokufa, Asisispho Dana, Ongezwa Ndaba and Zimkhitha Malinga all died at the shebeen.

Yonela Xeketwana,27, the sister of one of the victims, Ongeziwe Xeketwana, 22, said her death came as a shock to the family.

She said Lwando Mahlasela, Ongeziwe’s boyfriend who was also at the tavern at the time of the incident, has said the staircase railing collapsed after a gunshot was heard and sent patrons running for cover after they panicked.

City Vision could not get hold of Mahlasela.

“It will all pass. It is hard to come to terms with her death.”

Yonela said their mother was not so happy with her little sister going to the tavern.

To add more confusion to the whole gunshot saga, the owner of the tavern was nowhere to be found for an interview.

Sergeant Nosiphiwo Mtengwana, communication officer at Harare police station, said an inquest docket was opened and that investigations were going on into the collapse of the railings and the death of the patrons.

“The law does not allow underage children to be in tavern,” she added.

The government is proposing to increase the drinking age from 18 to 21 years old

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