The Enlightened Christian Gathering ( ECG) Church, Pretoria Branch—which hosts three weekly services and over about 2.5 million person visits this year—has experienced its first known death-related incident since its opening in 2015.
According to the ECG Church and confirmed by South Africa’s police, on Friday December 28, 2018, the city of Pretoria experienced unexpected severe thunderstorms and when the rain started [the congregation started to push each other and a stampede occurred, unfortunately leading to three deaths and nine injuries.
“We are deeply grieved by the incident and our hearts and prayers are with the bereaved families. As a church, we are working with all relevant state institutions and concerned families to ensure that all appropriate support is provided,” said church administrator, Moses Peo.
ECG Pretoria Branch has over 1000 trained professionals working at every service in the area of health, safety, security and operations.
“While there have been no incidents for 99.99% of attenders the church takes this incident seriously and is doing everything to improve systems,” Peo said.
Pretoria police spokeswoman Captain Augustinah Selepe said the three victims had not yet been identified.
“An inquest has been opened for investigation. Anyone with a missing person believed to have attended the church service should visit the Pretoria West police station. The injured people were taken to Kalafong Hospital and Pretoria West Hospital. The three deceased were taken to a funeral parlour,” Selepe told the African News Agency (ANA).
Additional national and international security and operation personnel have been employed for this year’s New Year Crossover Service taking place Monday December 31, 2018.
The event is planned to be unprecedented with people travelling from all around the world to attend.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Durban-based Pastor Paseka Mboro Motsoeneng visited Prophet Shepherd Bushiri to console him on the Friday’s tragedy.
Pastor Mboro who is the founder of the Incredible Happenings said he decided to visit ECG “to console and offer a helping hand to Brother in Christ, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri”.
Prophet Mboro has also appealed to other prophets and religious leaders in South Africa “to support Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, the greater ECG family, particularly the victims and their families in this difficult time”.
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