Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane

Pretoria - The congregation of Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk Wesmoot does not hold grudges against Gomorrah Informal Settlement residents who vandalised and tried to burn the church last week.

Church administration officer Marie Swanepoel said the congregation was hurting but did not hold the incident against #TshwaneShutdown protesters who used it in their demonstration.

She said what happened was not right because a church was a sacred place but the congregation decided to leave everything in God’s hands and not view any person as an enemy.

The church has been in Pretoria West since 1954 and it was the first time people ever attacked despite scores of protests by residents of the informal settlement. 

The crowd that had been fighting policing authorities with stones on Thursday morning but when the police were called as backup in another informal settlement, the crowd regrouped and attacked the church.

They shook the fences until it was loose and ran inside the moment it fell. Once inside, they burnt the curtains but the fire was not big enough to torch the whole building. They broke a lot of glasses and broke the bunks. 

A bible on the preacher’s podium was thrown to the floor while protesters broke the organ and left with the amplifier for the sound system.

Police officers from Hercules Police Station rushed to the scene and trapped four protesters inside the church and arrested them. Others were arrested outside as police fought to prevent the crowd from blocking routes and burning tyres all over. 

Investigations are ongoing but the church is not interested in the prosecution but holding peaceful services and promoting harmony among all residents.

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Pretoria News