by Kolapo Olapoju
As a result of the collapsed hotel building in his church premises on 12 September, Prophet T.B. Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, could possibly be sued for the death of 84 South Africans in the tragedy.
A South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has declared its intention to write the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to help South African victims of the SCOAN building collapse and their families to sue Joshua.
According to a member of the party and member of Parliament, Stevens Mokgalapa, the church may be criminally liable for the incident. He spoke shortly after the arrival of some survivors of the tragedy, in Pretoria
SABCNews.com quoted Nkoana-Mashabane, as saying that the Democratic Alliance believes that many lives could have been saved if rescue efforts had commenced immediately after the building collapsed.
She said, “The Democratic Alliance is quite saddened and concerned about the reports of alleged negligence from the church in Nigeria just after the collapse of the building there. We also want to get the full disclosure of the assistance of the South African Government and the cooperation of the Nigerian government in as far as the tragedy is concerned.”
Also in Pretoria, South African Minister in Charge of Pretoria, Jeff Radebe, implored the Nigerian government to urgently conclude its probe of the tragedy, saying that the incident has started a diplomatic rift between the two leading African countries.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, South-West zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, has disagreed with Radebe who claimed that the death toll was now at 115.
Farinloye said the death toll remains at 86, adding that Radebe is not on ground to have enough information to back his claim.
“We are the ones on the ground and we are sticking to our report that 86 people died and 131 people were injured. We coordinated the rescue operation and we have no other statement to issue.”