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Looking for Bushiri in SA will be like looking for the 10 babies: Motsoaledi

“It looks like it is becoming common practice for the media to send the country on a merry-go-round to prove things that do not exist,” said the home affairs minister.

22 June 2021 - 19:47 By amanda khoza
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he is angry that his department has to waste resources following up cock-and-bull stories. File photo.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he is angry that his department has to waste resources following up cock-and-bull stories. File photo.
Image: SIYABULELA DUDA

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday likened reports that self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary had been slipping in and out of the country without a trace to that of the existence of the babies dubbed the “Thembisa 10".

“It looks like it is becoming common practice for the media to send the country on a merry-go-round to prove things that do not exist,” said Motsoaledi.

The minister, who was responding to questions at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), was referring to a City Press report which claimed that Bushiri had again managed to flee from authorities in SA. According to the report, Bushiri was in SA in April and managed to flee before being arrested.

TimesLIVE reported that Hawks spokesperson Lt-Col Philani Nkwalase said that, according to their knowledge, Bushiri was in his home country of Malawi and that a process was under way to have him extradited to SA.

Motsoaledi lambasted the media, saying there was no proof that Bushiri was in SA. He likened the story to a recent report that a Thembisa woman had given birth to 10 babies. The government subsequently said that no such birth had been recorded in any hospital.

Motsoaledi said: “I may dare say that you are aware that the government is also being pushed to prove the birth of 10 babies, who were never born. I am 100% sure they were never born, but we are being asked to prove that they were.

“Now we are being called upon to prove that Bushiri was in the country three times. I don’t understand this type of journalism where people with accusations cannot prove what happened.”

He said the claims about Bushiri were “the same as the 10 babies that never existed”.

He was responding to a question by the ANC’s Enock Mthethwa, who asked if the department had looked into the Bushiri matter.

Motsoaledi replied that “those who accuse must provide proof”.

He said that when City Press called him for comment he told the newspaper the department had no evidence that the Bashiris had been in SA again.

Motsoaledi said it was unfair to the state to have to waste resources checking for “something that is likely to have never happened”.

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