Minister squeezes self-proclaimed prophet Bushiri and ‘crocodile’ cronies out of SA

Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri, seated next to his wife Mary. | Dimpho Maja Independent Newspapers

Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri, seated next to his wife Mary. | Dimpho Maja Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 1, 2024


Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has vowed a tough stance against undocumented ‘crocodiles’ such as Shepherd Bushiri, Timothy Omotoso and recently suspended former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Kwadukashe Mpofu.

Motsoaledi has assembled a specialised task team to investigate fraudulently issued permits, which include the documents issued for self-proclaimed prophet Bushiri, Nigerian televangelist Omotoso, North West CFO Mpofu and many other illegal immigrants who have bribed their way through South Africa’s Home Affairs officials.

Motsoaledi addressed a media briefing on Thursday in which he vowed to take a stand against those who collaborated with Bushiri and Mpofu to obtain their documents fraudulently.

Bushiri and his wife, Mary were on February 1, 2019 arrested at a hotel in Rustenburg, North-West, by the Hawks for fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), committed from 2015, in relation to Exchange Control Regulations related to foreign currency.

The Hawks said the arrest followed an investigation launched in 2018.

“Remember, Bushiri defrauded a congregation of R102 million. Remember, he was a permanent resident with documents obtained from Home Affairs. He was arrested by the Hawks. It is the Hawks, who doubted his documents and sent them to Home Affairs and said they had arrested this man for fraud on the documents issued by you. Can you check it. When Home Affairs checked the documents, they found out that indeed, the documents were fraudulent. We immediately suspended the individuals who were involved. Many of them were dismissed,” he said.

Motsoaledi said the matter was referred to the Hawks to investigate a criminal case against him, adding that even though he could not say if this was treason in his mind it was a treasonous act for one to issue fraudulent documents from a legal perspective.

In February this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed two proclamations allowing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate improper or unlawful conduct by officials at Home Affairs and at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

The proclamation at Home Affairs has seen the unit investigate transactions in a 20-year period between October 2004 to February 16, 2024.

“This is high treason in my mind, but as I say, South Africa is governed by law. We then learn that there is another pastor. The gentleman who is being charged for rape in Gqeberha by the name of Omotoso. There was also a rumour that his documents were also obtained fraudulently. My question is which other priest? Because there are many priests who come from other countries and people have been asking us about them. While we were pondering this question, a petition arrived on my table signed by 40 people who working at the permitting department. That is where permits are issued,” he said.

Two months ago, Motsoaledi pleaded with Ramaphosa to launch a SIU investigation into Mpofu who reportedly acquired his work permits fraudulently.

Mpofu, a Zimbabwean national who served as the CFO of the North West Development Corporation, was also slapped with a criminal investigation.

Motsoaledi has alleged that the officials are threatening him not to investigate them as some of the permits were issued by mistake.

“Now they (40 officials) are saying the department must stop investigating their errors. What does that tell you? If you believe there are errors, it means people are coming into South Africa and establishing businesses, homes on the basis of errors. Secondly, if they are not errors, then it means this must be corruption. How many people does it involve. It must be corruption. That is when I said this matter deserves attention and let me put a special task team,” he said.