The Department of Home Affairs says it will appeal a court ruling for it to halt the retraction of permanent residency status for Enlightened Christian Gathering church pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says they have uncovered evidence that the Bushiri’s entered South Africa and conducted business while on a visitor’s visa using fraudulent residency papers dating back to 1997 and 2009.
The couple and three other accused are charged with fraud to the tune of R100-million, money laundering and the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act. They are currently in jail.
They will find out if they will be granted bail when they return to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Minister Motsoaledi says the Department wants to withdraw the permanent residency status of the Bushiri’s because they lied in their application, but the court ordered them to halt the process until their fraud case is heard in court next year.
“On 17 May 2016, both applied for permanent residency. The wife showed us permanent residency which she says she got in 1997, but she ended up applying for permanent residency in 2016 and gave us a physical address here in Pretoria. Now when they made that application, the declaration was done under oath that they entered South Africa in 2015. In 2019, the Hawks were investigating criminal cases which you know are now in court then they discovered these discrepancies”, says Motsoaledi.
In the video below, supporters of Bushiri and his wife pledged their unconditional support: