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Candlelight vigil for those killed in Gauteng taverns

Mdlalose's tavern in Orlando East, Soweto, where 16 people were shot dead. The Gauteng Liquor Forum will hold a service on Thursday to honour those who died at this tavern and other taverns in the province.
Mdlalose's tavern in Orlando East, Soweto, where 16 people were shot dead. The Gauteng Liquor Forum will hold a service on Thursday to honour those who died at this tavern and other taverns in the province.
Image: Phathu Luvhengo

The Gauteng Liquor Forum will hold a service on Thursday in memory of the victims of the recent tavern shootings in the province.

The service, which the forum described as a candlelight vigil, will take place at the Orlando communal hall from noon to 1pm.

The forum said on Monday the service will commemorate those who died and bring attention to the senseless and cowardly tavern shootings.

“We are referring specifically to the massacre of patrons at Walter's Place in Vlakfontein, in which six people were shot and five died," the forum’s president Fanny Mokoena said.

“In Tshepisong, nine people were shot and six killed as a result of an attack. In Freedom Park, four individuals were shot, resulting in two fatalities.”

She also referred to incidents in Katlehong where two people were killed and in Orlando,  where 20 people were shot in a tavern, 16 of whom died.

“The most recent senseless killing of patrons reportedly occurred in Ga-Rankuwa, where two people were shot dead and seven others were injured by unknown suspects,” Mokoena said.

The forum believes unknown assailants, either working together or independently, are targeting taverns and retail liquor outlets, primarily in townships, and randomly shooting defenceless patrons, easily overpowering security at taverns.

The forum called on police minister Bheki Cele, minister in the presidency responsible for state security Mondli Gungubele and Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko to work together to secure communities.

“Not only are these murders raising questions about safety and security in taverns, but also within society as a whole.

“While the focus is currently on taverns and liquor stores, which we condemn in the strongest terms possible, it is entirely possible that tomorrow the focus may shift to crèches or early childhood development centres or parks where members of society and their families gather for recreational purposes,” Mokoena said.

She called on security agencies to collaborate with organised liquor traders’ associations to adopt a plan of action, not only for the pursuit and prosecution of the murderers, but also to eradicate crime in townships and communities.

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