Tavern owner arrested after deadly stampede

The owner of the tavern, where 10 people died in a stampede at a New Year’s day celebration in Ipelegeng in the North-West, has been arrested in connection with the incident, police said.

“Following investigations the owner was arrested this afternoon and he has been charged with culpable homicide,” Captain Adele Myburgh told the South African Press Association.

The 48-year-old man was expected to appear in the Schweizer-Reneke Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Police called for calm in the community following the incident.

“We request the community to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands.

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

She said the ages and names of those killed in the stampede were not yet known.

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

Authorities could not confirm a South African Broadcasting Corporation report that a fight among patrons led to the stampede.

Pastor Enock Ramfate visited the tavern after the incident.

“The bodies were still there and were covered with their clothes … People were very angry,” he told Sapa.

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

He was unsure how the incident would affect the close-knit community.

“As time goes by we don’t know how the people will react. They are calm now but once the investigation is done, I don’t know what will happen.” – Sapa

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