South Africa – On Friday, the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church led by charismatic preacher Shepherd Bushiri in Pretoria has apologised for the December 28 stampede which killed three members and injured others.
Maynard Manyowa, external media relations manager for Bushiri told a media briefing in Pretoria, that “It is, and it was unimaginable to fathom that a church, our home, a place of peace, a place of worship, where people come to refuge, where people seek and receive salvation and eternal life, can be the scene of a disaster. We appreciate this and wish to also convey our condolences and unreserved apology. We are sorry.
“We would like to convey the same messages of condolence and express our regret to members of our own family, our fellow brothers and sisters, congregants at the ECG church.”
Three women were killed in a stampede during a service on December 28. Nine other congregants were injured as they ran for shelter during a heavy rainstorm.
He added: “While we believe we did no wrong, our systems were well prepared, and that in the face of a pounding storm, itself a natural disaster for which there was nothing we could do, we want you to know that we are sorry, and we take full responsibility for the pain, sadness, anger, and grief this has caused.
“We have engaged community members, carried out internal investigations, engaged experts and analysts, hired more local personnel, improved on our security training as well as disaster management procedures, and taken action against those implicated in our investigations.
“Right from the very start, we have not had the slightest desire to cover our tracks, as we believe our hands as an institution are clean and remain so, and furthermore, the only way we can learn and be better from this is by understanding exactly what went wrong.”