The death toll of the shooting at the Soweto tavern has risen to 15.
The shooting took place at the Mdlalose tavern in the Nomzamo informal settlement in Orlando East in the early hours of Sunday.
Soweto tavern killing
Several people were left injured in Soweto with 14 deaths initially being confirmed by the South African Police Service (Saps).
“It is reported that on [Sunday] at about 00:30, a group of men armed with rifles and 9mm pistols entered the tavern and started shooting randomly at the patrons who were sitting inside.
“23 people were shot, 12 of whom were declared dead on the scene, while 11 were rushed to a nearby hospital. Two more were later declared dead at the hospital,” Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela said in a statement on Sunday.
While police opened 14 cases of murder and nine of attempted murder, the number of deaths has risen to 15.
Earlier, Mawela told Newzroom Afrika preliminary investigations have indicated armed suspect/s – who fled in a Toyota Quantum – opened fire at patrons in the tavern while “they were enjoying themselves”.
“All of a sudden they heard some gunshots… others thought it was outside and then when they saw that some people are dropping dead inside others pretended as if they are also injured or dead,” he explained.
He added that the motive at this stage was not known and investigations were still taking place at the crime scene.
“The person or persons just fired randomly so they didn’t target anybody. It is clear that these people were determined… they wanted to kill. For what reason nobody knows [but] we will continue with the investigations until we establish a motive,” Mawela said.
Soweto tavern killing investigation
The National Liquor Traders (NLT) has called on police to investigate fully the circumstances that led to the incident.
The NLT convener, Lucky Ntimane said the shooting was of grave concern, adding that “the perpetrators must be brought to book swiftly to prevent any further incidents.”
“Taverns provide a livelihood for thousands of township businessmen and women and are an important component of local township economies.
“The targeting of taverns is particularly concerning as they provide social enjoyment for many people and this incident puts further pressure on a sector which has been hard hit during the Covid-19 lockdowns,” Ntimane said in a statement on Sunday.
Katlehong tavern shooting
Meanwhile, there was another shooting at the Mputlane Inn Tavern in Katlehong.
eNCA has reported four unknown gunmen entered the tavern on Friday and fired shots aimed at a snooker table, where six people were wounded.
Two people died at the scene, while two others were rushed to hospital.
Two armed men driving a VW Polo reportedly stormed into the tavern in Sweetwaters around 8.30pm on Saturday and opened fire on patrons, leaving eight other people injured.
“Two males jumped out of the vehicle, entered the tavern and fired random shots at the patrons. A total of twelve people were shot.
“Two people were declared dead at the scene and the other two died in hospital. Another eight people are still in hospital after they sustained injuries,” KZN police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala said in a statement.
Police have since launched an investigation into the shooting.
“The suspects fled the scene after the incident. The deceased are aged between 30 and 45. Charges of murder and attempted murder were opened for investigation at Plessislaer Saps.
“The docket has been transferred to the Provincial Organised Crime Unit who will take over the investigation,” Gwala added.
The shootings come after 21 teenagers died at the Enyobeni tavern in East London, Eastern Cape, last month.
The teens – aged 13 to 17 – were reportedly killed by toxic fumes emanating from a petrol generator suspected to have been used inside the tavern in Scenery Park.