The incident unfolded shortly after midnight, when a group of men armed with rifles and 9-millimeter pistols entered the bar in the Nomzamo informal settlement near Johannesburg and started shooting “randomly” at the patrons, Gauteng Police said in a statement.
Police said 23 people were shot in the establishment – 12 died at the scene and 11 were rushed to a nearby hospital with injuries. Two more people were declared dead at the hospital.
The police have opened investigations into 14 cases of murder and nine cases of attempted murder, according to the statement.
“It’s a bad scene. When you see the bodies [that] are piled up, you can see that every one of those people [was] struggling to get out of the tavern, “Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela told South African news channel ENCA.
Mawela said the police are yet to determine details on the motive or why the people at the tavern were targeted.
“I have no doubt that with the cooperation of the community here, we will be able to crack this case,” Mawela added.
The police called on witnesses to come forward, saying the suspects were still on the run.