Home South African Man ’lucky to be alive’ after Pietermaritzburg tavern shooting

Man ’lucky to be alive’ after Pietermaritzburg tavern shooting

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A man is lucky to be alive after gunmen opened fire, killing four people, at Samkelisiwe Tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday evening.

The police at a tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietemaritzburg, on Sundday, where four people were shot dead on Saturday night. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Phakama Nzimande’s decision to fetch his jacket at home is the reason he is still alive today, after gunmen opened fire, killing four people, at Samkelisiwe Tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday evening.

Nkosingiphile Nsele, Nzimande’s friend, was one of the four people who died in the shooting.

“We arrived here (Samkelisiwe Tavern) early in the evening and we bought three beers and went about enjoying ourselves. When it started getting colder that is when I decided to go put on a jacket at home, not knowing that this (the shooting) would happen. I am beyond shocked at my friend’s death,” said Nzimande.

He described his friend as an ordinary person who just went about his life without bothering anyone. “I really want to know why anyone would want to kill my friend, because he was not a source of unpleasantness,” Nzimande continued, battling to control his emotions.

Family members said they were equally shocked by Nsele’s killing.

“When we heard gunshots at the tavern, we quickly rushed to the scene and we saw my brother lying in a pool of blood, dead. That sight was just unbearable,” said Slindile Nsele, his sister.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said that at about 8.30pm two men entered the tavern and indiscriminately opened fire on the patrons, resulting in at least 12 people being shot.

“Two people died at the scene and two died later while the other eight have been admitted to hospital for treatment. The deceased are aged between 30 and 45. Charges of murder and attempted murder are being investigated,” said Gwala.

She said provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had deployed members of Crime Intelligence, forensic experts and the tactical unit to form part of an investigation team led by the Provincial Organised Crime Investigation unit.

When reporters from the DFA’s sister publication The Mercury visited the scene of the shooting on Sunday, patrons were going about their routine, buying and consuming alcohol as if nothing had happened.

Tavern owner Mbuyiseni Mntambo expressed shock at the shooting, saying he had not seen such drama. “I have been running this outlet since 1992 and can tell without any fear of contradiction that we have never had anything like this happen in our premises. It is quite shocking.”

“A man came out of the tavern and casually concealed his gun before getting in a Polo which then drove off,” Mntambo said.

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