11 January 2019

South Africa: Bushiri-Led ECG Church Make Peace With Sanco, Says Mkholo - 'South Africa Not Immune to Stampedes'

Peace has descended in South Africa following meeting between South Africa National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and Shepherd Bushiri-led Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church officials which ended constructively with both parties reaching an agreement to 'immediate cessation of all hostilities.'

The two parties met on Thursday after in Sandton mediated by a government watchdog on religious practices in South Africa, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights (CLR).

In a statement released, the commission's spokesperson Mpiyakhe Mkholo hailed two parties for turning up to the event.

The Commission also added that it will pursue negotiations with the Church for possible support for the bereaved families following the deadly stampede during a service on December 28 2018 at Pretorial Showground. Nine other congregants were injured as they ran for shelter during a heavy rainstorm..

ECG Church's Content and External Media Relations Manager Maynard Manyowa said they welcome the recommendations of the CRL Commission, and was committed to the mediation process.

"We would like to express gratitude to the entire commission and representatives of Sanco who attended the mediation [meeting]. We remain committed to engaging any and all stakeholders in the country," said Manyowa.

He said the Bushiri-led church " totally regret" the death of the women and "again reiterate that we remain a ministry in mourning."

Manyowa said: " We are committed to ensuring we support members of the family."

Earlier on Thursday, Christians of South Africa (Cosa) criticised Sanco over its attacks against Bushiri.

"These misguided attacks against the church by Sanco is evidence enough to prove that faith in South Africa is under attack and Christians should prepare themselves for a volcano of persecution, perpetuated by the ANC government," Cosa president Pastor Derick Mosoana said.

"South Africa is not immune to stampedes and it is only normal that in every uncontrolled crowd a stampede is unavoidable. South Africans died during soccer matches and concerts but none of these agents of satan ever lobbied support against the affected artists or soccer teams."

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