AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
SELF-PROCLAIMED “Prophet” Sheperd Bushiri has been accused of rape by two 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 have confirmed 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.
Bushiri said he reported the matter in 2018 to the State Security Agency, Inspector General of Intelligence, police commissioners, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
Bushiri said the women who are accusing him of rape were allegedly recruited by the official.
“Some of these girls secretly came to us, demanding various amounts ranging from R50,000 to R2 million to their masters (as aforementioned) in order to stop the story from being aired by eTV. We recorded them.
“Well, we told them we are not giving a single coin to them to stop eTV from running this story. eTV must go ahead. We are going to sue you and your extortion cohorts. This time we want to show you the power of money and justice,” he said.
Bushiri and his wife are currently on bail and are expected in court soon where they are facing charges of fraud and money laundering.