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MPs want footage of departure of Malawian president from SA air force base

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Parliamentary committee has also requested a detailed report from the country’s security cluster ministers about how self-styled prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary skipped bail and fled to Malawi.

Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. File picture: Dimpho Maja / African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Home affairs portfolio committee chairperson Bongani Bongo has requested CCTV footage of the departure of Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera’s aircraft from Waterkloof Air Force Base, including the three hours before its departure.

The committee has also requested a detailed report from the country’s security cluster ministers about how self-styled prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary skipped bail and fled to Malawi, TimesLive reported.

Bongo was the driving force behind the call for video footage, saying he had received information from NGOs who told him that Bushiri had left with an aircraft that had brought the Malawian president.

“If we were to just get footage of what happened when the plane left and three hours before, we may be able to properly answer all the questions the nation has about what transpired on that specific day,” said Bongo.

“From where we are sitting as a committee, whoever gets into the country or leaves the country must have a stamp of Home Affairs or some document administered by Home Affairs. In this case we were told that all documentation of the family was taken to the police,” he said.

The security cluster ministers and their technical teams met on Monday to discuss the matter and will prepare a comprehensive report for Parliament, according to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

He told MPs that Bushiri and his wife Mary had five passports each that were issued by Malawi.

Motsoaledi said the Hawks raised an alarm that the Bushiris did not report to the police station on the day the Malawian president’s entourage were to depart from Waterkloof Air Force Base.

At the time, an advanced team of the Malawi presidential entourage wanted to depart in the presidential airplane, but they were told it could not happen.

He said the advance team was advised to board at OR Tambo International Airport after negotiations.

Motsoaledi detailed the process that was followed until the team was allowed to board the presidential plane on the tarmac at OR Tambo after they were processed like any other passenger.

Before the plane departed, it was searched and there was no sign of the Bushiris, he said.