Police have confirmed that three women died during the stampede at Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s church in Pretoria on Friday night.

Police spokesperson, Augustinah Selepe says police heard about the incident on Saturday afternoon.

The church told SABC News that the stampede occurred during heavy thundershowers as congregants were trying to find shelter.

Selepe says initial reports suggest that the deceased were taken to a funeral parlour by members of the church.

“Police are investigating a case of inquest after three unknown African females died and nine injured after a stampede at Shepard Bushiri’s church at Tshwane Events Centre on Friday night the 28 of December.

“Our preliminary report indicate that the community assembled at the show ground to attend the church service around 8pm at Hall C. According to them when the rain started the congregation started to push each other and a stampede occurred, unfortunately that lead to three deaths and nine injuries,” Selepe explained.

According to them when the rain started the congregation started to push each other and stampede occurred, unfortunately led to three death and nine injuries.

On Saturday,  Tshwane Emergency Services said they only transported one person, with bruises to hospital.

Enlightened Christian Gathering Church’s legal representative, Terence Baloyi, said the stampede happened after a thunderstorm caught the congregants off guard and they tried to get shelter inside the church at the Tshwane Events Centre. Baloyi says people started to panic and some got injured.

Injured people were taken to Kalafong Hospital and Pretoria West Hospital. The three deceased were taken to a funeral parlour.

The police invite anyone with a missing person believed to have attended the church service to visit Pretoria West Police Station.

Extra precautions for New Year’s Eve service

The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church of prophet Shepard Bushiri in Pretoria says they are taking extra precautions for the New Year’s Eve service.  Baloyi says they will conduct the service at the stadium at Tshwane Events Centre but will have five halls on standby if it rains.

“As a church the lesson learned is basically that we are on guard, be it natural disasters or whatever may come unexpectedly. We need to ensure we have capacity, be it in the form of a shelter where people can hide, such as tents, if need be. That’s what we’re working on. And also want to make sure as people come in we direct them to the halls immediately, nobody should be loitering around because as a result this is what happens.”