ECG church: Govt issued certificate of compliance days before stampede
Three women were killed late last month while trying to reach shelter during a thunderstorm. Many other congregants were also injured in the crush.
JOHANNESBURG - Despite the City of Tshwane's finding that the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) doesn't comply with safety standards, the place of worship says government issued a certificate of compliance just days before the deadly stampede.
Three women were killed late last month while trying to reach shelter during a thunderstorm. Many other congregants were also injured during the incident.
The church has been charged with defeating the ends of justice over the way it handled the tragedy.
The City of Tshwane has now issued an official order instructing the church to remedy its safety deficiencies.
According to Terence Baloyi, the lawyer representing the ECG, the City issued a compliance certificate ahead of the large gathering at the Tshwane Events Centre.
“I have a copy with me of the compliance certificate issued by the City of Tshwane for 31 December 2018, authorising the church to hold the event.”
Baloyi says they’ve held many other similar events at the venue.
“A natural disaster occurred. We were caught off guard in some areas, which we are saying is a natural disaster [and] we are open for improvement. We will look into this area.”
Meanwhile, the City of Tshwane has found several instances of noncompliance issues, such as obstructions to the escape routes leading to emergency exits.
The church says it has not yet been made aware of any safety problems.
WATCH: Pastor Bushiri's church speaks out after deadly stampede
(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)