Owner of South African death-stampede tavern stays in jail

08:15, January 04, 2011      

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The owner of a South African tavern where 10 people died in a New Year's Day stampede was on Monday told he would spend the rest of the week in jail, following a brief court appearance.

On Friday James Thembiso Lepholletse, 47, will face culpable homicide charges in the magistrate's court in Schweizer-Reneke in South Africa's North West province.

Captain Adele Myburgh of the South African police told the South African Press Association (SAPA) that Lepholletse will remain in custody until then.

On Monday, dozens of people converged outside the courthouse but no protests were reported.

On New Year's Day, seven men and three women, aged between 18 and 25, were trampled to death at the Basotho tavern in the small town of Ipelegeng in South Africa's North West province.

SAPA reported that the cause of the incident was still unclear.

However, on Monday anger was mounting in Ipelegeng and residents were urged to remain calm.

Among those calling for calm on Monday was the South African Communist Party (SACP), which sent its condolences to the families.

"We will follow up to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their irresponsible actions," said SACP provincial spokesman Kaizer Mohau.

SAPA identified the victims as Tshomo Ditloko, Lebogang Moyake, Samuel Mogokare, Boy Maano, Seoka Montshiwagae, Bongani Malantw, Isaac Mothupi, Mpho Mokwena, Kelebogile Maruping and Mapitso Makhobosi.

In South Africa, a landlord can be held liable for an incident such as the Jan. 1 crush.

Johannesburg's Talk Radio 702 reported on Monday that the owner was accused of trying to squeeze too many people into the tavern in order to increase profits.

Source: Xinhua
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