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ANC, EFF accused of hijacking memorial service of victims of Soweto tavern shoot-out

Politicians’ motives questioned

‘I tried to hide behind crates’ : Man who was shot 7 times in Soweto tavern massacre fears he won’t walk again

A Damelin travel and tourism student who survived the Soweto tavern shooting, speaks of how he tried to hide from gunmen. The student was shot seven times and his mother revealed the horrific scene she encountered when she went to look for him

The memorial service of the 16 people who were shot and killed at a Soweto tavern left some people fuming, accusing the ANC of hijacking the ceremony. 

The service was held in a marquee near the Mdlalose Tavern in Orlando on Thursday. 

The white tent was erected at about 9am and two hours later members of the ANC clad in the party’s regalia were seen placing about 10 party flags on top of it and some banners near the structure before the mourners arrived in the afternoon. Members of the EFF also came with their banners but stood a few metres from the tent before the service began.

The photos of the victims were placed on a table that was draped with a tablecloth  branded in ANC colours. The families sat in the front near the photos. 

This display seemed to cause discomfort for some in the crowd who decided to walk away from the tent.

“We are not here for political speeches. Our neighbours have lost their children. Families are in pain; this is not the time to score political points,” said Malindi Gotsheleni, who was part of the group that left when ANC provincial secretary Thembinkosi Nciza was given the microphone.

Faces of tragedy: Families of Soweto tavern shooting victims describe devastating loss

The families of the people who lost their lives at the Mdlalose tavern shooting in Soweto are still reeling from the loss of their loved ones. They participated in a prayer service on Tuesday July 12 and began making burial arrangements.

Nciza said: “The ANC is the vanguard of society. You will see the ANC everywhere. We are not here to campaign. We are here to support the grieving families and to call on members of the community to take a stand against crime.”

EFF Johannesburg regional secretary Muzi Shabalala led a small delegation also sporting party T-shirts and flags.

Shabalala condemned the mass killing and urged community members to unite against crime.

“This is not the time to fight against each other. This memorial service is organised by the ANC and they gave us an opportunity to speak. This shows that there is political tolerance among us. We urge the people of this community to stand together and allow the police to do their job,” said Shabalala.            

Tavern owner concerned about security following Soweto mass shooting

Fifteen people were killed at Mdlalose’s tavern in Soweto on Sunday after gunmen opened fire on the crowd. A few metres from the tavern is another establishment called Tap Out. The owner is concerned about security after the incident.

Most of the 16 people killed at Mdlalose’s tavern will be buried outside Gauteng.

The families of the victims called for the arrest of the perpetrators before they could bury their loved ones. Some mourners broke down in tears when pictures of the deceased were brought into the tent.

“We will allow police to do their investigations but they must not investigate forever. We want answers. We want to know who killed our family members. By the time we bury our family members we want those responsible for their brutal death to be behind bars,” said Mpumi Chirwa, speaking on behalf of the family of Daliwonga Mluma, who was among those killed on Sunday.

During the memorial service, representatives of the grieving families were given an opportunity to briefly speak about the departed.

Appointed family representatives made similar remarks, saying they wanted to know the motive for the killings and demanded immediate arrests.

“Many of the people that were killed are from Umzimkhulu [in KwaZulu-Natal]. We don’t know why they were killed. We are deeply hurt but we plead with the departed to be good ancestors,” said Thobekile Thobela, speaking on behalf of the family of Philani Mngonyama, who died in hospital after the shooting.

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