Answered prayer or bad call? Mzansi split over Shepherd Bushiri and his wife getting bail

04 November 2020 - 14:00 By cebelihle bhengu
Shepherd Bushiri, his wife Mary and co-accused Landiwe Ntlokwana have been granted bail.
Shepherd Bushiri, his wife Mary and co-accused Landiwe Ntlokwana have been granted bail.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange/TimesLIVE

The release of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary on R200,000 bail each has been met with mixed reactions on social media, with his supporters attributing the decision to their prayers and his opponents left with more questions than answers.

The Pretoria magistrate's court on Wednesday granted the couple bail. Their three co-accused were released on bail ranging from R20,000 to R100,000.

They were arrested in October on fraud and money laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at about R102m.

The couple's release was announced on his Facebook page, along with a note that he would address congregants on Wednesday afternoon. His supporters have since flooded the page to express their joy about his release

"We thank God of Major 1 for protecting our spiritual parents. Me and my family will never stop standing with you. We love you and may God protect you at all times. We miss our preaching spiritual parents," wrote Johanna Nkosi.

Nanne Nanne wrote: "Our God is a God of wonders and miracles. We thank the almighty for their release."

Some people claimed the couple should not have been granted bail as they were in the country "illegally" and may be a flight risk.

Last month, home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi told the SABC the Bushiris entered the country and conducted business while on a visitors’ visa and using fraudulent residency papers.

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“Shepherd Bushiri and the wife entered South Africa through the Beitbridge Border post on the 6th of September 2009 and they were issued visitors visas. Visitors visas have got a timeframe but while on this visitors visa Shepherd Bushiri started registering certain companies.

"He engaged in certain businesses in 2014, 2015 and 2016 which, of course, are not allowed. Mary Bushiri entered SA through OR Tambo International using a passport. She then produced a fraudulent permanent residence permit.”

Here are some of the responses from Twitter:

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.