Mudslinging in Pretoria continued to deepen on Tuesday in the aftermath of the deadly stampede at the Shepherd Bushiri-led Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, with the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) taking aim at its political partner the African National Congress and its youth league.
“We are not surprised at all by the ANC Youth League of Tshwane’s stance on issues happening in the city as they have been caught up in allegations of collecting monies from [embattled Tshwane City Manager Moeketsi Mosola] by members of the ANC in various WhatsApp groups of which we have in our possession,” said Sanco Tshwane regional chairperson Abram Mashishi.
“We have given our clear position to the city with regards to its role on the sad day of the incident [the December 28 stampede] and we will await the investigations outcome and from then onwards approach relevant institutions for recourse.”
Mashishi said Sanco was “not shocked” by the ANC’s position on the ECG debacle “as you could see from similarities to that of the ANC Youth League, which proves the fact that the ANC is controlled by a group of friends who are in charge of the ANC Youth League, hence you would see that part of the contact person on the statement [of the ANC Youth League issued on Tuesday] is a caucus of council spokesperson [Lesego Makhubela], which is a new tendency”.
Sanco insists its position on Bushiri and the ECG remains unchanged.
“We would like to reiterate that our position will remain unchanged on the ECG and Prophet Bushiri until proven otherwise by the investigation. We will continue with our programme of action, which is a planned march. [We will] engage other stakeholders of our society to participate,” said Mashishi.
“We will also engage our upper structure with regards to the behaviour of certain individuals in the ANC and the ANC Youth League which might impact on the already weak election machinery of the ANC Greater Tshwane Region.”
Three women were killed in an apparent stampede at the ECG church during a service on December 28. Nine other congregants were injured as they ran for shelter during a heavy rainstorm. The three deceased women were identified as Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogahlo Maria Segodi.
Sanco led protests outside the ECG premises in Pretoria, calling for the popular church to be expelled from the Pretoria showgrounds venue.
On Tuesday, the ANCYL chairperson, Lesego Makhubela told a media briefing that Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga had deliberately lied in the aftermath of the stampede when he said the premises of the ECG were noncompliant with fire and emergency by-laws.
Contrary to Sanco’s stance, the ANCYL said it was against calls for the ECG to be removed from the showgrounds, which it rents for worship.
“We believe in the Constitution. What the DA is doing in Tshwane is similar to what that corrupt funny man [Johannesburg Mayor] Herman Mashaba is doing … promoting xenophobia. The ECG is a church of a black person, followed by multitudes of black people. These talks that he [Bushiri] should go back to Malawi and should go back are xenophobic and we are against it. That church has a compliance certificate from Tshwane and nothing prohibits ECG from continuing with their gatherings,” Makhubela said at the time.
“There is nothing in [the] law stopping the ECG from continuing with its services. Our stance is that we respect legislation. There is freedom of association, religion and opinion. We’re not going to try to be populist and attack churches of black people. That is backwardness. It promotes anarchy, black-on-black violence. Such irresponsible utterances have cost lives in this country.”
– African News Agency (ANA)