Sanco stands by #Bushiri and his ECG

MUDSLINGING in Pretoria continued yesterday in the aftermath of the deadly stampede at the Shepherd Bushiri-led Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church.

This time the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) took aim at its political partners – the ANC and the ANC Youth League.

“We are not surprised at all by the ANC Youth League of Tshwane’s stance on issues 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 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 said day of the incident (December 28 stampede) and we will await the investigation’s outcome and then approach the 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 that the ANC is controlled by a group of friends in charge of the ANC Youth League.

“Hence you would see that the contact person on the statement (of the ANC Youth League that was 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 remained 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 – a planned march and engage other stakeholders of 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 women were identified as Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogahlo Maria Segodi.

Sanco led protests outside the ECG premises at the Pretoria showgrounds, calling for the popular church to be expelled from the venue.

ANCYL chairperson, Lesego Makhubela, has told a media briefing that Mayor Solly Msimanga had lied in the aftermath of the stampede when he said the premises of the ECG were non-compliant with the City’s 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 multitudes of black people.

“These talks that he (Bushiri) should go back to Malawi is xenophobic and we are against it. That church has a compliance certificate from Tshwane and nothing prohibits the ECG from continuing with their gatherings,” Makhubela said at the time.

“There is nothing in law stopping the ECG from continuity with its services. There is freedom of association, religion and opinion. We’re not going to try to be populist and attack churches of black people. Such irresponsible utterances have cost lives.” 

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