'Why did he wait three years?': Hawks on Bushiri extortion claims

27 August 2020 - 13:57 By Iavan Pijoos
The self-proclaimed prophet claims the allegations against him are part of a conspiracy.
The self-proclaimed prophet claims the allegations against him are part of a conspiracy.
Image: Sunday World

Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri's claims about being the victim of an extortion attempt involving rape allegations raised eyebrows on Thursday.

This after two women on e.tv alleged in an interview on Wednesday evening that they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the self-proclaimed prophet.

One of the victims claimed she met Bushiri at a hotel after a church elder allegedly told her he wanted to “pray” for her.

According to the woman, Bushiri insisted on a hug and tried to kiss her, but she refused and told him that he was married.

“He then touched me here [forehead] and I manifested. I was under the power that I don’t even know. From there he took off my clothes and raped me.”

She was then allegedly given R5,000 and asked to leave.

A second woman alleged she was lured to the hotel and raped. The woman said she was also given R5,000 afterwards.

Bushiri denied the allegations in a statement, saying he was the victim of an extortion attempt stretching over three years.

He alleged that a Hawks official had been “sending girls to demand money from us and if we don't give, she told the girls to go public and accuse us of raping them”.

Bushiri said he had reported the matter to several law-enforcement authorities but claimed no action was taken.

Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Thursday that they were aware of the “serious allegations levelled” against one of their members.  

“The prophet should not have waited for three years, why has there not been a case at this stage?” he asked. “We are also keen to know the truth. He can pursue the allegations with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), the police, or the Hawks.”

The two women, whose identities were protected, said in the television interview that they had opened cases against Bushiri. TimesLIVE independently confirmed that cases were opened.

Contacted for comment on Thursday, an NPA spokesperson said they would be able to respond on Friday.

In his statement, Bushiri accused SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) regional chairperson Abram Mashishi of being complicit in efforts to extract money from him.

In response, Mashishi said Bushiri's assertions were “baseless” and an attempt to tarnish his reputation.  

“This could not be further from the truth and we encourage him to open a case of such extortion if he truly has evidence, so that law enforcement can take its course,” Mashishi said.

Mashishi said the organisation would take legal advice on the “smear campaign”.