Embattled self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife have allegedly fled to Malawi for their safety, a week after being granted R200,000 bail by the Pretoria magistrate’s court.
Bushiri, his wife Mary, Landiwe Ntlokwana Zethu and Willie Mudolo, are facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100m investment scheme.
The Bushiris and their co-accused were released on bail last week Wednesday after their arrest last month.
The Bushiris’ bail conditions saw them barred from travelling outside SA and only permitted to travel in Gauteng and North West.
They, along with their co-accused, had to report every Monday and Friday to their nearest police station; were barred from disposing of any property; had to hand over to the state the original title deed to their R5.5m property in Midstream Estate, Centurion; and were barred from threatening witnesses and the investigation and prosecution teams, even while preaching.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Bushiri announced that he and his wife had arrived in Malawi “because of safety and security issues since 2015”.
“I would like to inform the general public that my wife Mary and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security issues since 2015, matters that got worse when we just got out on bail.
“There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection.
“Our coming to Malawi, hence is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa, solely meant to preserve our lives.
“These attempts have been heightened with recent spates of arrests and detentions that we felt the only way for us to clear our names before the law is to ensure that our lives are preserved. My wife and I strongly believe in our innocence but this cannot be proved if our lives are not preserved. We have to be alive to testify to our innocence.
“As we stand here, we were arrested in 2019 on allegedly money laundering charges and it’s getting to two years now without trial because the state is not ready to give it [sic].”