Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Tshwane - The Tshwane region of the African National Congress on Tuesday accused the municipality's mayor Solly Msimanga of failing to act on the death of worshippers at the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church led by prophet Shepherd Bushiri.

A coalition of parties led by Msimanga's Democratic Alliance has run the city of Tshwane after wresting control from the ANC, the ruling party nationally, at 2016 municipal elections.

The ANC said in a statement it was concerned to Msimanga "and his corrupt DA-led administration remain nowhere to be seen since the tragedy that led to the deaths of three female congregants at the Enlightened Christian Gathering".

"The city has not reassured the residents nor mentioned any measures to be taken to avoid such indents from happening in the future," ANC regional spokesperson Bafuze Yabo said. "Surely, there are laws and by-laws which govern gatherings of this nature in our country."

The ANC said it was incumbent upon the city council running Tshwane, home to the church which attracts thousands of congregants at several services each week, to ensure that such "unfortunate eventualities" did not occur.

Yabo said the city had failed to enforce set regulations as stipulated by the country's Gathering Act, "consequently compromising the safety and health of our people".

"What is most appalling is that the metro police headquarters share a fence with this venue which fails compliance on every aspect of the requirement of the law right under their nose," he added.

The ANC said the Enlightened Christian Gathering church should also take full responsibility for what happened and support the affected families.

The South African Police Service says it is investigating the deaths from the December 28 stampede. A case of defeating the ends of justice has been opened, relating to the removal of the bodies from the church premises. 

SAPS Gauteng spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said the investigation was now at a "sensitive stage".

African News Agency/ANA