The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) says it will on Thursday meet with the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and management of the church of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri in order to find a way forward and avoid the closure of the church.

Sanco is meeting the City of Tshwane to discuss the future of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Ministry in Pretoria.

Sanco members have been protesting outside the church at the Tshwane Events Centre since the weekend after three women died and nine others were injured during a stampede on December 28th.

Chairperson of the CRL, Thoko Mkwanazi-Xaluva says there are no legal mechanisms for a place of worship to just be shut down until a police investigation is complete.

“You cannot just close the church willy-nilly, whereby people are found guilty of something and then they are closed. I must declare that we did meet with the church about five months ago. We raised a few things with them. So, we’ve been interacting with them. We are meeting with Sanco tomorrow and the church.”

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