10 July 2022StatementFrom the desk of the Acting General Secretary, Rev Mzwandile Molo
As South Africa woke up to yet another incident of the loss of lives at a tavern in Orlando East, Soweto, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) is deeply saddened at the callousness that would motivate anyone to open fire on patrons of a tavern, leaving 13 dead, and a dozen injured.
“It is another sad and alarming day for us, where the wanton disrespect for life would allow for anyone to enter a tavern and shoot randomly at people, with no care for whether they live or die,” said Rev Mzwandile Molo, Acting General Secretary of the SACC. “There can never be any justification for actions of this nature,” he added.
The ripples of the deaths of youth at eNyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape have yet to calm, and now the country is faced with more tragedy, as the SACC has learnt from media reports, of another two deaths at a tavern in Katlehong, Gauteng, and a further four deaths at a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal. While scuffles and verbal disagreements are often unfortunately prevalent in the spaces where there is consumption of alcohol, the loss of life at this scale points to premeditation, where the intention would be to inflict irreparable harm. As a country, the issue of the abuse of alcohol remains a major concern at all levels of society, and interventions around the sale of alcohol to minors, and the safety of patrons at such venues requires addressing. “However, these acts of violence taking place in taverns have less to do with the abuse of alcohol and more to do with the cheapening of life,” Rev Molo said.
As the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other law enforcement agencies investigate the deaths, identify the perpetrators, and assist the families in getting justice for their loved ones, the SACC emphasises that the public in these communities should channel their efforts to supporting the SAPS in their investigations by sharing any information about suspicious behaviour that would lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators. ‘We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones, and extend comfort to the communities at a time where there may be confusion and much anger,” said Molo, lamenting the untimely deaths of so many, who have been robbed of the opportunity to live full lives.
The SACC calls upon its member churches to extend their support to these families and in these communities through the ministry of prayer, and ministry of presence; while simultaneously engaging with various regulatory entities servicing taverns and nightclubs, around the issues of security and safety of their patrons, as incidents of violence and death should not become commonplace in our communities.
—ENDS—Media enquiries:Khuthalani KhumaloSACC Communications ConsultantSouth African Council of ChurchesTel: 084 074 1285 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org