Thuli Madonsela weighs in on Bushiri escape

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela said Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary must be held accountable.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela said Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary must be held accountable.
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has called for justice to be served after the escape of controversial prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary last week.

The pair skipped the country just one week after they and their co-accused were granted bail by the Pretoria magistrate's court. They were arrested in October and face charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100m “investment scheme”.

Alarm bells were first raised after the pair failed to report to a police station on Friday, as per their bail conditions.

In a statement on Saturday, Bushiri confirmed he had left the country and said it was a “tactical withdrawal” to preserve their lives.

He said SA authorities had failed to act on several alleged death threats he had received, and made demands of the government before he would return.

Madonsela weighed in on the demands, saying the SA government could not interfere in court proceedings on the matter.

What self-proclaimed prophet Bushiri seems unaware of is that the SA government has no power to interfere with the judicial system on bail, including revocation.”

She said because he had broken his bail conditions by fleeing the country, his bail should be revoked.

Madonsela said she was hopeful an extradition agreement between the two countries could be put into effect and Bushiri would be held accountable.

“Hopefully asset forfeiture will kick in and so will the mutual assistance agreement between the two countries. Accountability by the self-proclaimed prophet Bushiri is important for justice for affected people, some of whom were allegedly fleeced of their entire pensions.”

In a statement on Sunday, the government said SA had initiated a process to secure the extradition of the couple.

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