Motsoaledi must account for how the Bushiris managed to flee SA, DA says

Fugitive from justice Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. They are facing fraud and money laundering charges related to an 'investment scheme' valued at R100m.
Fugitive from justice Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. They are facing fraud and money laundering charges related to an 'investment scheme' valued at R100m.
Image: Alon Skuy

Home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi should account for his department’s failure to effectively manage SA’s ports of entry and departure, enabling wanted fugitives Shepherd Bushiri and his wife to pass through them with ease.

The DA made this call on Sunday after reports that the self-proclaimed prophet and his wife, Mary, fled the country while expected to stand trial for allegations of fraud, theft, and money laundering to the value of R102 million.

They had been granted bail of R200,000 each earlier this month on condition that they would remain in the country to appear in court.

Reports have alleged the couple fled SA for Malawi, crossing the border illegally after bribing home affairs officials.

The Sunday Times reported that the slick escape from SA has left President Cyril Ramaphosa “extremely angry” — after a meeting with Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera who jetted into SA around the same time of the pastor's disappearance — and law enforcement agencies red-faced

“This is a serious indictment on the role of home affairs and border control to effectively police SA’s ports of entry and secure the movement of individuals to and from our country,” DA shadow minister of home affairs Angel Khanyile said.

She said Bushiri’s escape brought into question the security and safety of SA given how easily border management systems can be manipulated by corruption and bribery.

Khanyile called on Motsoaledi to appear before parliament to tell the country how Bushiri was granted SA citizenship.

Khanyile said Motsoaledi must also explain how the two escaped the country without passports, considering that their documents were supposedly handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) when they were granted bail.

“The fact that two individuals wanted for grave crimes have managed to flee our country so effortlessly is a slap in the face to the millions of SA citizens deserving of swift justice for this crime.

“There is evidently nothing stopping criminals from evading justice in SA by border-hopping when home affairs has no control over who enters and leaves our country.”

The ANC-led national government must urgently begin the process to extradite Bushiri to SA. Bushiri is now a fugitive on the run, and government cannot allow porous borders and corruption within border management to deny citizens justice in this matter.

“As the DA, we remain committed not only to ensuring that our borders are tight and that SA is safe, but bringing to book those who have committed grave acts of crime in our country no matter where in the world they may have fled. SA deserves justice and the DA demands this of government in the interests of our citizens and their safety.”

Home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said Motsoaledi had instructed the director-general to establish the facts around how Bushiri left the country.

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