Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has faced pressing questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) about the escape of fugitive Shepherd Bushiri. The self-proclaimed prophet fled South Africa in 2020.

Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife flee to Malawi: 

However, media reports indicate that he has allegedly been in and out of the country even after he fled. Motsoaledi also had to answer questions on fraudulent permits during a NCOP virtual oral reply session for security cluster ministers.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) wanted the Minister to answer the question on whether Bushiri has been coming in and out of South Africa as recently reported in the media.

EFF member of the NCOP, Mmabatho Mokause criticised Motsoaledi for denying the reports and the alleged involvement of Home Affairs officials in Bushiri’s escape.

“When Prophet Bushiri left the country you also said it is inaccurate to say some officials were involved in his escape. You have said it a number of times today. You are still dismissing reports that he has been in and out of this country. It’s a fact Minister that that would have never happened or being possible without the help of Home Affairs’ officials. Are you at some point Minister, not failing this Department by dismissing reports and facts that are out there?”

Motsoaledi told Mokause that proof should be given that Bushiri has been in and out of SA after his escape.

“Yesterday I was listening to Bushiri’s lawyer on SAfm and he said this is rubbish to imagine that he can take chances and come here. Of course people dismiss that because they want to believe the report in City Press. The onus lies on the writers of the report to give proof to you so that we no longer make assumptions and we have got the proof that it actually happened.”

Fraudulent permits 

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Member of the NCOP, Xolani Ngwezi challenged the Minister on the issue of fraudulent permits issued by his department

“I would like to know from the Minster whether he is aware of the extent of the problem of fraudulent permits in the country, especially those issued by the officials from this department? And if not why? And if so whether the department has plans and the capacity to review permanent residence permits issues over the years to eliminate fraudulent permits in this category?”

Motsoaledi reiterated that the problem of fraudulent permits is being investigated.

“Honourable member (Ngwezi) I am puzzled. I have just answered that question. I’m sure Chairperson you are  aware that I have just answered it. I have told the member that I am aware because we have got a very strong anti-corruption unit in the department. And the anti-corruption unit has reported to us that two-thirds of the cases of corruption that they are investigating have to do with permits. It is for this reason that more than three months ago, I put up a team of five of people as I said, it is headed by the former DG in the Presidency Dr (Cassius) Lubisi.”