Pastor TB Joshua not ready to visit SA

The church says TB Joshua still wants to visit SA, but for security reasons he won’t be able to attend.

FILE: Nigerian pastor TB Joshua speaks during a New Year’s memorial service for the South African relatives of those killed in a building collapse at his Synagogue Church of All Nations on 31 December 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Synagogue Church of All Nations says pastor TB Joshua, as the chief mourner, will be praying for the families who lost their loved ones when his guesthouse collapsed in Nigeria, exactly a year ago.

Today marks exactly one year since 116 people died, most of them South Africans, when the Synagogue Church of All Nations Guesthouse caved in.

The church remains adamant it played no role in the deaths of more than a hundred people, most of them South Africans, when the building, belonging to pastor TB Joshua caved in.

Scores of survivors, families and church goers are expected to gather in Midrand for a remembrance ceremony, and a prayer service.

Church spokesperson Kirsten Nematandani says leaders are still hoping the truth will come out about who sent a plane and gave permission for it to fly close to the guesthouse just minutes before it collapsed on this day a year ago.

"The truth will come out one day, that's what the man of God has said. Government will go deep into the matter because surely there're answers that are left hanging. Time shall tell."

He says pastor TB Joshua still wants to visit South Africa, but for security reasons he won't be able to attend this weekend's special remembrance service.

"He would pray and get answers and that will be the time that he'll come here. If word goes out that he's coming, we can have stampede."

Joshua says out of respect for the families of those who died he has been staying out of the public eye, mourning and praying.

Meanwhile, Lindiwe Ndwandwe survived by drinking her own urine while trapped under a pile of rubble for five.

She will be attending today's ceremony to remember her friends who died exactly a year ago today.

Ndwandwe says those who survived have now formed a support group and still find it difficult to come to terms with the trauma.

"We've been contacting them, visiting each other, now even made a group of WhatsApp as survivors to keep on checking each and every morning, how are you, are you coping. Have you overcome those stresses?

Survivors have called on the church to preserve the site where the building collapsed, so they can revisit the area with families in the future.

The church still believes a plane which flew close to the building prior to the collapse, caused the tragedy.

She says one year later she still has nightmares.

"When I am in a building I feel the shakes, I hear the sound, and it just comes back automatically."

Ndwandwe says she still supports Pastor TB Joshua, who insists the building collapse at his premises was caused by a passing plane.

She says his critics are being unfair.

Ndwandwe says she wants to take her daughter back to the site of the collapsed guesthouse next year.

"I would love for the synagogue church to keep the place as it is, so that when we go, we can see the place where it happened."