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'Let him go or we boycott elections,' threaten Prophet Bushiri fans

04 February 2019 - 10:37 By Iavan Pijoos
Supporters of Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader Shepherd Bushiri came out in their numbers to support him as he appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court with his wife on February 4 2019.
Supporters of Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader Shepherd Bushiri came out in their numbers to support him as he appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court with his wife on February 4 2019.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

Enlightened Christian Gathering Church members were adamant on Monday that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri was innocent – and threatened not to vote if he is not released.

Ellen Tefo told TimesLIVE that Bushiri had made a tremendous impact on her life.

"He has changed my life in an amazing way. We are here with spiritual intentions. If he is not released, we will keep on praying that God will intervene. We are not moved by this petty arrest," Tefo said.

Tefo said "Major 1" - as he is referred to by his followers - knew "long before" that he would be arrested.

"All the prophets in the Bible received similar treatment. We are not moved by that, we are standing boldly and saying God is making a move"

Should Bushiri not be released, his supporters would not take part in the upcoming 2019 general elections, she added.

Hundreds of supporters had gathered outside the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court early on Monday.

They carried placards that read: “Major 1, innocent.”

Others held framed photos of Bushiri.

Supporters chanted: "We want our father. You touch a prophet, you will see."

A lady who was barred from entering court proceedings, said: "You are provoking God himself, do you know that?"

A second follower, Dimpho Lekunutu, also believed that Bushiri had done "nothing wrong".

"I want my father to be released. This is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice.

"We are not surprised by this, my father Major One is the one who taught me to do things the right way in life."

Bushiri and his wife have been arrested on fraud and money laundering charges involving more than R15m.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Friday that the arrest took place at a "lavish hotel in Rustenburg".

"The Hawks’ case against the pair concerns alleged offences of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA). The crimes were committed from 2015 in relation to Exchange Control Regulations related to foreign currency in an amount of $1,147,200 (about R15.3m).

"The couple who run several business enterprises in South Africa and abroad are expected to appear before the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court on Monday," he said on Friday.

The matter has been postponed until Wednesday.


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