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Wed Apr 01 05:11:37 SAST 2015

Ten killed in North West bar stampede - latest

Sapa | 01 January, 2011 15:03

Ten people died in a stampede at a New Year's day celebration in Ipelegeng, the North West Public Safety department said.

"Most of the deceased were underage," spokesman Lesiba Kgwele told Sapa on Saturday.

Police disputed this.

Spokeswoman Captain Adele Myburgh said the ages of victims were not confirmed as some of them had not been identified yet.

However, police suspect they were between 18 and 25-years-old.

She said the stampede occurred at the entrance to the tavern's dance area at 2:15am.

The tavern was a popular nightspot in the township and had a dance floor and tuck shop adjoined to it.

"The exact cause of the stampede will be determined during the investigation," said Myburgh.

Circumstances surrounding the incident were not clear and no further details were released by authorities.

However, the SABC reported that a fight had broken out among some of the patrons which led to the stampede.

Myburgh and Kgwele could not confirm this.

Police have called for calm as tensions in the area were high.

"We request the community to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands," a statement released by Myburgh said.

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

Ipelegeng Mayor Kenneth Pshipelo told Sapa 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 later on Saturday, he said.

The province's Human Settlements MEC Desbo Mohono called for a thorough investigation.

"Someone should be held accountable for the incident which robbed families and the community of valuable lives," he said.

"We are distraught and saddened by the deaths."

Mohono sent his condolences to the families and said several questions needed to be answered.

These related to the cause of the stampede, possible overcrowding, underage patrons, and whether the tavern owner took precautionary steps to ensure patron safety in accordance with his license,

"Should this not be the case they should consider charging the owner of the tavern for negligence and pursuing profit at the expense of safety of his patrons," he said.

Pshipelo said a meeting with police, government officials, local leaders and political parties was expected to get underway at 5pm.


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