South Africa: Bushiri Risks Deportation to Malawi - Minister Says Prophet in South Africa Illegally

Malawi Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (file photo).
27 October 2020

South Africa-based Malawian self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd 'Major 1' Bushiri and his wife, Mary, risk being reported as the Rainbow nation's Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi has said they are in the country illegally.

The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church leader and wife currently face charges which include fraud, money laundering and theft, they are also accused of contravening certain provisions of the Immigration Act.

Home Affairs Minister, Motsoaledi to SABC that Bushiri and his wife are in South Africa illegally .

The Malawian born preacher established the ECG church in South Africa's administrative capital Pretoria and has seen the church's branches mushroom across the country thanks to his antics and 'miracles'.

Home affairs officials who served notices to the pair during their time of application for residence permit have been suspended by the department pending an investigation.

According to Home Affairs Minister Motsoaledi, the couple arrived in South Africa using the visitor's Visas in 2009.

Whilst on visitors' visas, the couple started registering companies and conducting business, something that is not allowed according to the law.

Bushiri could be charged for conducting business whilst on visitors' Visa.

The Minister went on to reveal Bushiri misrepresented in his application or permanent residence when he revealed he arrived in the country in 2015 when in actual fact he arrived six years earlier in 2009.

With regards to Mary Bushiri, she entered the country with her husband in 2009, and later re-entered in 2012.

The self-proclaimed Prophetess produced a 1997 issued permanent residency visa, long before she even entered the country.

The department has since issued the couple with a notice to explain their immigration discrepancies.

The church leader and his wife will return in court dock on Friday to continue with their bail application.

On Monday, hundreds of followers protested and prayed "in tongues" outside the court when the Bushiri's appeared.

Critics argue that Bushiri's followers are misinterpreting the Bible scripture by comparing to the arrest of Jesus, Peter, Paul to Bushiri's arrest when Jesus, Peter and Paul was arrested for preaching the gospel while ECG Church leader is arrested for fraud and money laundering.

Bushiri and his wife were also arrested in February 2019 and face separate charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act for offences they allegedly committed from 2015. The initial case relates to exchange control regulations allegedly about foreign currency amounting to R19 million.

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