ANC has thrown its weight behind the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), blaming the Tswane City Council for not enforcing set regulations as stipulated by the country’s Gathering Act.
In a Joint press statement Enlightened Christian Gathering Church External Media Relations Manager Maynard Manyowa and the church’s spokesperson Terrance Baloyi said the church has welcomed the statements by ANC.
“The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church has noted, accepted and welcomes statements attributed to the ruling African National Congress on issues surrounding the unfortunate loss of lives and injuries suffered by beloved members of our family on the 28th of December 2018 in Pretoria.
“Since 2015, we have been hosting between 60,000 to 70,000 people three times a week at the Showgrounds. We have done so without encountering failures in crowd control. Members of our family, and even visitors have enjoyed frequenting our church to worship, fellowship and accept the gospel of good news in an environment that is safe, calming and clean.
“Two days after the tragic loss of lives, with heavy hearts, and a thick cloud of grief hovering above us, we held a very successful crossover service at the very same Showgrounds with no recorded incidents of crowd control failure, violence, theft or crime,” they said.
They added that the church agreed with the ANC that safety ought to be a primary consideration.
“We agree with the ANC that safety ought to be a primary consideration at our church. We also accept their stance that we must take full responsibility for the tragedy and render assistance to all victims within our family.
“We agree with them unequivocally and with no reservation. We accept their advice and are working flat out as a ministry to ensure that we implement their recommendations
“We have stated before that this is something we do not want to ever happen again, and we are working with officials to ensure that any compliance and public safety loopholes are closed,” Manyowa and Baloyi said.
Manyowa and Baloyi said ECG Pretoria Branch has over 1000 trained professionals working at every service in the areas of health, safety, security and operations.
“While there have been no incidents for 99.99% and over a period of over 4 years, the church takes this incident seriously and is doing everything to improve systems.
“We have utmost confidence that our systems are robust, but are taking measures nonetheless to improve them. We believe we cannot stop getting better.
“It is with this understanding that have undertaken and engaged local external experts and analysts and consultants to asses our crowd control measures and make recommendations.
“We would also like to reiterate that we remain a family in mourning, and are overwhelmed by a sense of deep grief.
“However, we are committed to honouring the memory of our departed family members and their family members whom we truly love, uncovering the exact nature of what transpired on the fateful day, as well as improving our systems,” Manyowa and Baloyi said.