Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri testified at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights (CRL Rights Commission) which is mediating between the ECG and SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco). Picture: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

Pretoria - The event hosted by Prophet Shepherd Bushiri's Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) church at the Tshwane Events Centre on December 28, where three congregants were killed in a stampede, was fully compliant with municipal bylaws and the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act (SSRE Act), the CRL Rights Commission ruled on Friday.

Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva released her findings at a media briefing in Johannesburg. 

"The Commission finds as follows:  The application by ECG Church for the event of 28 December 2018 was fully compliant with the bylaws and the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act 2 of 2010. There are elements of non-effectiveness in the bylaws and the JOC [Tshwane's joint operations committee] system," said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.
 
"There was, per section 17(2)(a)(i) of SSRE Act, supposed to have been a venue operations centre (VOC) established at the event of 28 December 2018 since the event is categorised as medium-risk. Such was not established."

The VOC had to be composed of various bodies including but not limited to police officials, disaster management services, fire department, emergency medical services.

"The City of Tshwane did not dispute that SAPS was not on site on the 28 December 2018 since they (City of Tshwane staff members) were also not on site.  It is on a balance of probability that the Commission finds that the SAPS was not present.  Accordingly, the SAPS failed to comply with the SSRE Act," said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.

African News Agency/ANA