What was meant to be the celebration of spring at a local swimming pool in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal turned violent, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old boy and another teen being seriously injured.
According to police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, an altercation is believed to have spiralled out of control during the unofficial gathering of pupils from various schools.
Mbhele added that while there was meant to be formal planning for such events, police were not aware of the gathering. She added that the youngsters had organised taxis to transport them to the gathering.
“They were drinking alcohol and we also suspect drugs were also involved because we are informed that the boys fought. But the 18-year-old was eventually stabbed and another injured,” Mbhele said.
A murder and attempted murder case had been opened, she added.
Johan Pieters, a local community policing forum member who arrived at the scene at around 17:00, told News24 he was informed of the gathering after the incident occurred. He said upon his arrival he saw minors from age 12 smoking and drinking alcohol.
“When I arrived there, it was chaotic. This was a first time that this summer festival, or whatever they call it, happened,” Pieters said. He said at least two adults were spotted among the minors.
“I saw two adults when I arrived there. There were apparently over 1,000 children there. Nobody knew about this event, and that’s what I don’t understand. Someone should have known about this, parents and adults should have known what was happening,” Pieters said.
The circumstances surrounding the organisation of the event and the fight were a matter of investigation.
Pieters said empty bottles of Heineken and other alcohol brands were left littered outside the pool complex after the group of youngsters left in their “hired” taxis.