Shepherd & Mary Bushiri say they’ll return to SA if govt meets their demands
The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) leader and his wife, Mary, confirmed on Facebook on Saturday that they had fled to Malawi.
JOHANNESBURG – Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri insists he is not running away from being prosecuted in South Africa.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) leader and his wife, Mary, confirmed on Facebook on Saturday that they had fled to Malawi. The Hawks also confirmed that the couple did not report to their nearest police station on Friday as required in their bail conditions.
The Bushiris are out on bail facing charges which include fraud, theft, and money laundering to the value of over R100 million. They were released on R200,000 bail more than a week ago following their arrest in October.
They said they left South Africa for their home country after fearing for their safety.
In the Facebook post, the couple called on the South African government to recuse all those involved in their trial from investigators to prosecutors.
They were also pleading with authorities not to revoke their bail, despite defying their conditions by leaving the country.
“I would like to inform the general public that my wife, Mary, and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security issues since 2015. These matters have gotten worse after we just got both our bails.
“There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been State protection,” the Bushiris said.
They added: “Our coming to Malawi, hence, is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa solely meant to preserve our lives.
“These attempts have been heightened with recent spates of arrests and detentions that we felt the only way for us to clear our names before the law is to ensure that our lives are preserved.”
Bushiri insisted they were only willing to return to South Africa their demands are met. He requested the government of Malawi to liaise with the South African government to ensure that their demands are met.
The couple also maintained they were innocent and claimed they were not receiving a fair trial in South Africa.
“My wife and I strongly believe in our innocence, but this cannot be proved if our lives are not preserved. We have to be alive to testify to our innocence.”
HAWKS PROBE FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDER
Meanwhile, the Hawks said the news that the Bushiris had fled the country was in contravention of their bail conditions as set in the Pretoria Magistrate Court.
“At this stage, we can confirm that he did not report at the police station as requested and agreed upon which is also an act of contravention of court order,” said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale in a statement.
She added: “Investigators together with prosecutors have been working tirelessly since it came to light that he did not report at the police station. The current posts purporting to be issued by Bushiri, who is said to be in Malawi, are being authenticated and verified.
“Investigation around failure to comply with the court order is underway.”
WATCH: 'We stand by our mama and papa' - Bushiri’s supporters protest for his release