The South African government is under pressure from the country’s main opposition to provide “real answers” on how self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife staged their “miracle escape” to Malawi from their host country two weeks ago.The pressure increased over a Sunday Independent newspaper’s report alleging that Pretoria was involved in their escape to Malawi, an allegation a government official vehemently denied on Monday.
“This story sought to embarrass and implicate the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, and unnamed ministers in crimes and conspiracy for which the Sunday Independent has produced absolutely no evidence and will not be able to substantiate,” said Government Communication and Information System director-general Phumla Williams in a statement.
Williams said her government remained committed to keeping South Africans informed on progress in its effort to bring the Bushiris back to South Africa to attend their court case.
According to the opposition Democratic Alliance party, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s presentation in parliament last week to brief the house on the Bushiris’ escape was not satisfactory.
There were just too many holes in the story, the DA said.
The party said it would summon the minister again, this time asking him to bring along CCTV footage from the Pretoria air force airport used by Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera during his recent visit to see if the couple boarded it.
The Bushiris, who lead the Pretoria-based Enlightened Christian Congregation church, were on a US$26,000 bail when they escaped to Malawi two weeks ago, telling the world that they had returned home to seek fair justice from their government.
The couple, who were arrested last Wednesday in Lilongwe, were freed after a Malawi court said the police had arrested them without seeking the court’s warrant of arrest – thus deeming the police arrest “illegal”.
They were freed unconditionally.