'TB Joshua's church was bombed'

Lindiwe Ndwandwe says the scars on her body suggest the guesthouse was bombed.

FILE: Lindiwe Ndwandwe was trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations for five days. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A Kempton Park woman who survived the Nigerian building collapse is adamant the scars on her body suggest the guesthouse was bombed and didn't cave in due to construction defects.

Out of the 116 people who died in the September tragedy, 81 were South Africans.

A Lagos inquiry has ordered that the Synagogue Church of all Nations be investigated and face criminal prosecution for neglecting to obtain the right permits to continue construction.

Lindiwe Ndwandwe was trapped under the rubble for five days before she was rescued.

Ndwandwe said she had a rash on her arms for months after the tragedy, which is why she believes explosives were used to bomb the guest house.

"It kept on itching for months and months after it came out. It kept on itching as if the same powder went through my skin."

She said she also saw a plane and heard a loud noise.

"When I entered inside the church, I saw the plane, but didn't pay attention. I heard the loud 'boom' sound."

The church has rejected an inquiry's findings that it be investigated and face criminal prosecution for neglecting to obtain the proper planning approval before construction started.

The church's Bally Chuene says other forces were at work in the tragedy and the world won't understand this.

"The devil was at work from a spiritual perspective. But let's come to your physical world; the coroner completely ignored the fact that the building collapsed in under four seconds and not one particular beam that stood."

The church said the Nigerian coroner's verdict is "irrational" and the inquiry excluded crucial evidence which clearly points to sabotage.

Chuene said the guest house collapsed due to a "spiritual" intervention.

"You hear some of the family members who are spiritually enlightened, how the death of their martyrs has had a significant spiritual impact and what they've seen from their vision. From a spiritual perspective you get to understand."

The church said CCTV footage of a plane that flew close to the guest house minutes before it caved in was never considered before the coroner reached a conclusion.

The collapse occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guesthouse of the church compound, where visitors from abroad flock to stay.

NIGERIAN INVESTIGATORS TO BUILD CRIMINAL CASE

Nigerian investigators are expected to start building a criminal case against the church for the deadly collapse.

Pastor TB Joshua was the only witness summoned to appear before the inquiry who failed to do so.

There was also no finding directly against the pastor but only against his church.

Recommendations suggested that an investigation must now be launched into the church and the construction company responsible for alterations.

The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni said, "The church must be investigated and prosecuted for failing to obtain the relevant approval before embarking on the construction of the building."