May God “comfort you all at this time of mourning”: Church Leaders in South Africa to Botswana after Easter Accident

Official logo of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). Credit: SACC

Officials of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) have condoled with the people of God in Botswana following the fatal Easter holiday bus crash that killed 45 Batswana Easter pilgrims, an eight-year-old girl being the only survivor.

The bus that had members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) on board was on its way from Botswana to Moria, a South African town located in Northern Limpopo Province where a popular annual Easter festival takes place.

The driver reportedly lost control of the bus, veering off the bridge near Mokopane village, and crashed it into a ravine before the bus burst into flames.

In a Monday, April 1 statement, the President SACC, the Council that includes representatives of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), describes the March 28 accident as “a tragedy of great proportions.”

“The South African Council of Churches (SACC) expresses its deepest condolences to our neighbors - through the Botswana Council of Churches - the people of Botswana on the tragedy that befell 45 members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) who were traveling from Botswana on the R518 on the annual holy pilgrimage to Moria,” says Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


He adds that SACC members “are left deeply wounded by the emotional weight of this accident, and we join you all in prayer at this time.”

Archbishop Makgoba prays that ZCC members, families and friends of the accident victims may receive solace, saying, “May the Lord comfort you all at this time of mourning, and may you all experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit - our Comforter.”

“As the mortal remains of the deceased are painstakingly gathered for repatriation, we pray for the repose of all the souls, saying Godspeed to the bereaved families,” he adds. 

On Tuesday, April 2, South Africa’s Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, said that the process of identifying and repatriating bodies is ongoing. 

Meanwhile, the Limpopo Provincial Health Minister, Phophi Ramathuba, has been quoted as telling journalists on Wednesday, April 3 that doctors were happy with the progress that the sole survivor, Atlang Siako, was making.

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“She is in a position where we can now release her to her home because at the same time the psychological impact of being away from home does have an impact on the total, complete healing,” Minister Ramathuba said.

In the SACC statement, the leadership expresses spiritual solidarity with Atlang Siako, saying, “To the little girl whose life was spared in this sad incident, the SACC prays for healing, love, and support to her throughout this traumatic experience.”

SACC officials also condoled with families “whose lives have been irreparably altered” in road accidents during the Easter weekend. 

The entity’s Acting General Secretary, Rev Mzwandile Molo, has called on drivers “to make sure that as we drive, we drive with a commitment to safety and the security of life.”

“We pray for everyone to get home safely, and to be received into the arms of those that are waiting for them ahead of the rest of the working week,” the SACC official has been quoted as saying. 


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