Church where three women died in stam­pede found short on safety

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Nonku­l­uleko Njilo

After a tragic stam­pede that rocked Shep­herd Bushiri’s En­light­ened Chris­tian Gath­er­ing Church in De­cem­ber, an in­spec­tion by the city of Tsh­wane found the venue to be non­com­pli­ant on safety is­sues.

This was re­vealed after a site in­spec­tion by the city’s fire and emer­gency ser­vices de­part­ment.

The stam­pede claimed the lives of three women and left dozens of con­gre­gants in­jured.

“The Msi­manga ad­min­is­tra­tion is to is­sue re­me­dial in­struc­tions, in the form of an of­fi­cial or­der to com­ply, to the ECG Church,” city spokesper­son Samkelo Mgob­ozi said.

The in­spec­tion found:

● The es­cape routes lead­ing to the es­cape doors ob­structed;

● Es­cape doors to be used dur­ing an emer­gency ob­structed;

● In­suf­fi­cient fire-fight­ing equip­ment pro­vided;

● No emer­gency lights are pro­vided in the fa­cil­ity;

● No emer­gency evac­u­a­tion plan is avail­able;

● Im­proper stor­age of dan­ger­ous goods; and

● A diesel trailer is stored in­side the build­ing.

“There was also no proper seat­ing ar­range­ment dur­ing the in­spec­tion.

“The de­part­ment can there­fore not com­ment on the pop­u­la­tion load. It was, how­ever, noted by the num­ber of chairs stacked in the halls that the pop­u­la­tion is per­ceived to be high dur­ing ser­mons,” Mgob­ozi said.

The city said an or­der to com­ply would be is­sued.

The city has urged the pub­lic to al­low the law to take its course.

“In our en­deav­our to en­sure a safer Tsh­wane, we will fol­low up with in loco in­spec­tions to en­sure the build­ing is brought up to code and to avoid an­other such tragedy.”

Po­lice spokesper­son Capt Au­gus­tine Selepe said no ar­rests had been made fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent but an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was at an ad­vanced stage with re­sults likely to be re­leased next week. –

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