South Africa: Bushiri Debacle 'Shouldn't Affect SA-Malawi Diplomatic Relations'

Malawi Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (file photo).
17 November 2020

The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has expressed concern at the potential effect the Bushiri escape may have on diplomatic relations between South Africa and Malawi.

This comes after Shepard Bushiri and his wife, Mary, escaped South Africa last week without a valid explanation and while out on bail.

The Pretoria Magistrates Court on Monday issued a warrant of arrest for the couple after they contravened their bail conditions last week.

This comes after the two had failed to present themselves at the police station to confirm that they are still in the country, as per their bail conditions. It is understood that they illegally fled to Malawi, their native country, last week.

In a statement on Monday, the Hawks said the Bushiris' bail is cancelled, thus forfeiting the R400 000, which they had collectively posted as bail.

In a statement, committee chairperson, Tandi Mahambehlala, said it was important that relevant departments in both jurisdictions resolve the matter expeditiously.

"It cannot be appropriate for Mr Bushiri to pit regional trade partners against each other. Malawi and South Africa historically have strong bilateral and regional ties that ought to be strengthened and respected.

"The claims of xenophobia Mr Bushiri made in seeking sympathy from his government are a concern, and could potentially compromise South Africa at a time when it should lead recovery of regional economies," Mahambehlala said.

She called on people not to lend credence to a story about the Malawian President smuggling Bushiri out of the country at the conclusion of his State visit on Friday last week.

"This matter has been clarified by both countries and if perpetuated further, it may unjustly compromise President Lazarus Chakwera," she said.

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