AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
FUGITVE and self-styled ‘prophet’ Shepherd Bushiri says he is not shocked nor surprised by the decision by the South African law enforcement authorities to issue three warrants of arrests for separate cases of rape.
The warrants of arrests against Bushiri were issued on November 19 by the Pretoria Magistrates Court and relate to two cases laid in 2018 and the third registered this year. Bushiri and his wife Mary fled to Malawi after they were charged with fraud and money laundering. There are two warrants of arrests for skipping bail.
In a statement, Bushiri said the fresh warrants were part of a conspiracy by the Hawks, the elite detective unit within the South African Police, to persecute him.
Bushiri said: “I am neither shocked nor surprised with media reported warrants of arrest because they are just part of the larger crusade to try and persecute my name in the media by a team of white police officers notably from the Hawks.
For the record, it is trite law that when a warrant of arrest is issued, law enforcement agencies proceed to effect arrest; not leaking information to the media as my case has always been with these police officers.
“These are police officers that I opened extortion and corruption cases against in 2018 after they tried, unsuccessfully, to extort about R10 million from me. At the time, they were clear and on record saying that “failure to pay the R10 Million would result in immediate retaliation.”
“Despite confirming the opening of such cases, South African Authorities haven’t taken any relevant steps to bring to book these police officers. Instead, these officers were let loose, riding on the back of state resources, and embarked on a crusade to cover up their crimes by launching and issuing numerous warrants of arrests against me.
“For the record I reiterate and confirm that the very same police officers are the same police officers who arrested me in Feb 2019. As is not enough they are again the same police officers who arrested me in October 2020, and, again, without any official confirmation I bet it’s the same police officers.
“I have been advised—which advice I accept—that rape cases are not handled by hawks but South African Police (SAPS) designated unit known as Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS).
“I had launched complaints on how Hawks were recruiting girls to fabricate charges of rape and to date no reprieve for me. Some of these were confirmed via various videos of those who came back to confess such wrongful conduct.”
“That is why these fresh warrants of arrest are neither a shock nor a surprise because they only confirm every detail I shared with regard to spates of injustice I left in South Africa.
“But above all, as a revered man of God, a husband and father who understands that rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I stand and believe in.
As keen as I am to clear my name, I unequivocally refuse to feed the media spectacle created by white police officers bent to cover up their crimes. My conscious is very clear and so it shall remain.”
The African Mirror understands that the charges relate to two women who were members of his congregation – the Enlightened Christian Gathering.
The two women have separately told television station ENCA how they were invited to a five star hotel in Pretoria, raped, then given R5000 and told to go away.
One woman, named *Thandi by ENCA as the South African law prohibits the identification of rape victims, said the Malawian-born Bushiri used to stare at her during church service and one day one of his lieutenants approached her and said the chuch leader wanted to meet her at a hotel to pray.
Thandi said when she arrived at the hotel, Bushiri insisted on a hug and tried to kiss her. She said she resisted, telling him he was married.
“He touches me here,” she said, pointing to her forehead. “That’s when I manifested. I was under the power that I don’t even know. From there he took off the clothes and he raped me.”
Thandi said Bushiri then threw her clothes and R5000 at her and told her to leave.
The second victim, *Lerato, in a separate interview, told a similar story.
Lerato said after one of his services, Bushiri asked her and a cousin to join him at a special service the following day.
“He texted my phone and we started talking. From then he said we should get time where we meet up for coffee, to talk and study the Bible,” she told ENCA.
The coffee meeting was supposed to be at church but Bushiri suggested they meet at a hotel. When she arrived at the hotel, Lerato found the pastor naked. “He asked me to take my clothes off and then he told me to turn around and I did that, shaking, afraid, I didn’t know what to do. That’s when he came up to me and everything happened,” she said.
Lerato said afterwards, Bushiri told me to take out R5000 out of a drawer and move to another room.
Thandi and Lerato have admitted taking the money but told ENCA that it does not absolve Bushiri of a crime of rape. They have stopped going to church and demanded justice.
Police confirmed then to ENCA that they were investigating rape allegations against Bushiri.
Bushiri has denied the charges and said the accusers are part of a syndicate that sought to extort money from him.