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October 22, 2022

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The KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority (KZNLA) has suspended the operating licence of an upmarket restaurant in KwaMashu, north of Durban, after a patron was shot dead.

The authority investigated possible breaches of licence conditions after the incident at the Artizen Restaurant and Lounge on October 2, when a patron was killed and another wounded.

The investigation found security commitments made by the licensee were not adhered to, said acting CEO Bheki Mbanjwa. “It was further noted that there was a contravention of the conditions of the licence due to the additional seating area which was not part of the approved floor plan,” he said.

The suspension was effective from October 10.

“The premises shall remain closed until the end of the [three-month] suspension period or until the licence holder complies with the full implementation of the security plan and adherence to licence conditions.

“We urge licence holders to adhere to security commitments in their security plan, as this is a provision in the KZN Liquor Licensing Act that seeks to ensure the licence holder maintains the safety of patrons.”

Artizen owner Siphiwe Mcayana told TimesLIVE the dead man caused a disturbance and had an altercation with other patrons during an “All White Party” before he was escorted out by security.

“When he returned, he was carrying a gun and forced his way in because the bouncers at the gate don’t carry guns. He went straight to the table he had left [and] the people he had an argument with, but they had changed tables. He then fired shots in the air and everyone took cover — that’s when he spotted them at another table.

“The bodyguards were sitting in a car outside because they would’ve scared other attendees if they were allowed inside with guns. They rushed inside when they saw him [the deceased] coming inside with the gun. So when he shot in the direction of their bosses, he shot the bodyguard in the leg, who then fatally shot him in return.”

Mbanjwa also commended economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Sboniso Duma for upholding a decision to cancel the licence of Masijabule Tavern in Inanda, where two patrons were murdered, and the suspension of the licence of Samukelisiwe Restaurant and Tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, after four patrons were shot.

“This is a clear indication that the KZNLA and the province are taking strong action against licence holders who violate their licence conditions, particularly to the extent that compromises the safety of patrons.

“Members of the community must remain vigilant and consider their safety when visiting liquor outlets. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies.”


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