Bushiris, co-accused still in jail as bail hearing is postponed: Here's a timeline of their arrest
Supporters of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary were left fuming on Monday after the Pretoria magistrate's court postponed their bail bid to Friday.
The pair were arrested in connection with allegations of theft, money laundering and fraud.
Here's a timeline of their arrest:
October 20: Mary arrested, Bushiri hands himself over
On Tuesday last week, the Hawks said they had arrested Mary at the couple's home while Bushiri handed himself over to the authorities later in the day. Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo confirmed the arrest.
He said the Hawks had apparently invited the Bushiris to their office on Tuesday at 11am, to discuss an investment with a company called Rising Estate. He said Mary was arrested as the couple and their lawyers were preparing for the meeting.
Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said four others were arrested for their alleged involvement in the deal. They are two couples including a pastor and his wife.
October 21: first postponement of bail bid
The couple appeared at the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court with a third suspect and member of their church, Landiwe Ntlokwana. Their bail bid was postponed to Friday. The state said the case was at an advanced stage.
The state also noted the department of home affair's withdrawal of the couple's permanent residence permit. According to documents from the Pretoria high court, where Bushiri appealed against the withdrawal notice, the permits were issued in “error”. The high court said the notice should remain suspended until the couple pleaded to the charges against them.
October 21: Bushiri couple earn over R700,000
During the bail application, the court learnt that the Bushiris earn over R700,000 a month. This was revealed when advocate Anneline van den Heever, a lawyer representing the three, read out their affidavits.
Bushiri said he earns about R566,000 a month, while his wife revealed that she earned R221,000 a month from “entities”. Bushiri questioned the charges against him, saying his involvement in the case was unclear.
October 23: ECG members demand Bushiri's freedom
Scores of men and women from Bushiri's church demonstrated outside the Pretoria magistrate's court on Friday and demanded the release of their “Papa.”
Holding placards plastered with Bushiri's pictures, they accused the government of weaponising the justice system against their leader.
They also threatened to “frustrate the magistrate” with prayer so she would release their leader. The trio's bail bid was further postponed to Monday.
October 26: Bushiris and co-accused spend more nights behind bars
Bushiri, Mary and three co-accused appeared in court on Monday but their bail hearing was postponed again to Friday, October 30. Magistrate Thandi Thelede said she was occupied with other cases and will only be available to give the matter her full attention on the set date.
Van den Heever argued that Bushiri was not a flight risk and that the state did not present sufficient evidence to the court.
Outside, the court was ANC MP Boy Mamabolo who addressed Bushiri's followers. He said he would raise his concerns regarding the postponements with justice minister Ronald Lamola.
Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri, his wife Mary and two co-accused were granted bail in the Pretoria magistrate's court on November 4 2020. While another accused has not yet applied for bail, all five of the accused have been charged with fraud, theft and money laundering.