13 dead after church building collapsed in South Africa

A makeshift Pentecostal Church in the town of Dlangubo, just north of the eastern coastal city of Durban, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast of South Africa has been the scene of a major tragedy.

The apparently-unsound building structure of the church collapsed during a packed service on Thursday night, bringing the roof and a wall down on congregants.

Thirteen people were killed, and 16 injured, six of them critically.

“We received a call on Thursday night that part of a church wall had collapsed on congregants due to heavy rain and wind,” Nomusa Dube-Ncube, a provincial minister, was quoted as saying by the eNCA broadcasting network.

“The roof of the building collapsed because of heavy rains last night, at this point we have a total of 13 fatalities,” Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for the provincial traditional affairs department told local media on Friday.

While an investigation into the soundness of the building structure, and the cause of its collapse, has been initiated, the probe is likely to expand into a nationwide investigation of church structures, many of which are described as ‘makeshift.’