In a confusing incident, 21 young people die in a Johannesburg nightclub
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.
“However, the president is concerned about the circumstances in which these young people gathered in a place that, at first glance, should be prohibited for those under the age of 18,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
The death toll from the incident rose to 21.
The club’s owner, Siyakhangela Ndevu, told local media he had received a notice to come to the venue on Sunday morning.
“I’m still not sure what really happened, but when they called me in the morning they told me that the place was too crowded and that some people were trying to make their way to the tavern,” he said. “We’ll see what the police say about the cause of the deaths.”
South African police were investigating the deaths of at least 21 people at a nightclub in the coastal town of East London early Sunday morning.
Authorities said most of the victims were minors, some as young as 13.
It was unclear what had caused the deaths of the young men, who were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams.
The bodies were lying on tables and chairs with no visible signs of violence, according to the local Daily Dispatch.
“At this time we cannot confirm the cause of death,” said Siyanda Manana, a spokesman for the health department. “We will conduct autopsies as soon as possible to establish the probable cause of death.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the victims’ ages ranged from 13 to 17, raising questions about why alcohol was served to minors.