Verdict on TB Joshua 'from Satan'

09 July 2015 - 02:26 By Sipho Masombuka

A coroner's finding that TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of Nations, in Nigeria, is criminally liable for the September 12 2014 building collapse that killed 116 people, including 81 South Africans was dismissed as the "work of the devil" by survivors and relatives of the victims. Coroner Oyetade Komolafe said: "The church must be investigated and prosecuted for not obtaining the relevant approval before embarking on the construction of the building ."The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims."But survivor Emma Nkanyane, 35, dismissed the ruling as "nonsense" concocted by "earthly experts" who know nothing about spiritual matters.She said the church could not be blamed for the work of the devil, and she would go to the church again.She said: "I do not believe in scientific findings for spiritual matters. I am not going to accept the findings, I will not blame the church for what happened. Only God will give us the truth, not some experts."Phillip Mbedzi, whose 30-year-old daughter, Mpho, died in the tragedy, said he was not interested in the findings of "a devilish investigation".The 61-year-old father from Vhembe district, in Limpopo, said he had known that the tribunal would blame the church."It is just the work of the devil to destroy our bishop but we shall not be shaken."We were waiting for this verdict. The bishop told us that this would be the outcome. He will guide us moving forward."Mbedzi said the one child he had lost was nothing compared to the 115 other children in Joshua's flock that were lost in the tragedy.He said he was in constant communication with Joshua but would not reveal what they discussed.Mpho Mahlwele, who lost his 58-year-old mother, Kgomotso, was tight-lipped.He said: "I heard about the verdict but I will not comment."Olalekan Ojo, speaking on behalf of Joshua and the church, told AFP that it was "unfortunate" that the coroner ignored submissions that "having building approval is not [a] panacea for building collapse"."The court also ruled that there was no nexus between the hovering aircraft and the collapsed structure. By so doing, the court has ignored the testimony of the police," he said."We, as the legal team, will sit and if there is any need to take further steps to have the verdict reviewed we will do so."

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