KwaZulu-Natal police say maximum resources have been deployed following the tavern shooting in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, where four people were killed Saturday night.
The deceased are aged between 30 and 45. Eight other people are in hospital.
Police say that two men entered the tavern and randomly opened fire on patrons. Twelve people were shot and two were pronounced dead at the scene. Another two victims died later in hospital. The suspects then fled the scene.
Police say the motive is still not clear. Provincial police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala is appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
“The provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi has condemned the shooting and he has deployed members of crime intelligence, and forensic experts to form part of the investigation led by the provincial organised crime unit. The team will be working around the clock to crack down and bring to book those responsible for this shooting. People with information may contact crime stop on 08600 10 111.”
The owner of the tavern in Sweetwaters says he doesn’t know the cause of the incident. Mbuyiseni Mntambo says he has security to monitor his business premises.
Mntambo says the circumstances that led to the incident remain a mystery.
“There was no fear in this area because is the first time such an incident has ever happened this is not a violent area. This just happened and we don’t like what happened because there’s always security present to guard the place. How this happened I don’t know and I don’t know the reason behind this shooting because everything happened during working hours around 8:30 and we close at midnight,” says Mntambo.
Developing story this afternoon | 4 dead and 8 in hospital in Pietermaritzburg tavern shooting
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla has commended the police for their swift response to avert what he says could have been an even greater tragedy.
Thebolla says they are deeply concerned about escalating crime in the area. “The quick response of the police assisted because the community around here was starting to become violent this is worrying everybody not just the Owner or those families who we are passing our condolences to them those who have lost their loved ones but the quick response of the police assisted in preventing what would have been chaos.”
15 people gunned down at a tavern in Nomzamo
Meanwhile, the National Liquor Traders’ Association earlier said taverns should be safe spaces in which patrons can socialise and enjoy alcoholic beverages.
The association’s convenor, Lucky Ntimane was reacting to an incident in which 15 people were gunned down at a tavern in the Nomzamo informal settlement in Orlando West, Soweto in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Ntimane has called on law enforcement to swiftly bring the perpetrators to book to prevent any further incidents.
“The NLT is concerned for the security of its traders and patrons. The NLT has learned with sadness of another loss of lives at a tavern in Soweto. We call on police to investigate fully the circumstances that led to this tragedy. This is of great concern and the perpetrators must be brought to book to prevent any further incidents,” says Ntimane.