Although the NPA confirmed that they were investigating the charges, the matter has not been enrolled.
PRETORIA, August 27 (ANA) – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday said investigations into the alleged rape cases by self-proclaimed prophet and leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Shepherd Bushiri are under way and the matter has not been enrolled.
“Yes, the NPA is aware of the matter. However, the investigation is not complete. There is still outstanding investigations which we cannot divulge at this stage. Once investigations are complete, the matter will be enrolled,” Lumka Mahanjana, spokesperson for the NPA in the Gauteng North region, told African News Agency in Pretoria.
In the latest startling accusations, two unidentified women spoke to broadcaster eNCA, accusing the charismatic church leader of luring them to the plush Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria supposedly to pray, only for him to allegedly rape them.
In the televised interviews, one of the two women told eNCA that Bushiri would regularly stare at her during the church services and sometimes stood next to her during his packed sermons. Not long after that, an “elder” in the ECG allegedly approached her and told her Bushiri wanted to meet her at the hotel “to pray”.
Both women allege Bushiri gave them R5,000 after the sexual encounters.
Bushiri has vehemently denied the allegations, insisting there is a campaign to extort money from him, using the women. The preacher said the “extortion scheme” involved the South African Police Service’s Hawks unit and the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) Tshwane chairman Abram Mashishi.
“For the last three years we have been dealing with extortion. A police officer at the Hawks called Phumla Mrwebi has been intimidating women and children to come up with false rape allegations against Prophet Bushiri and some members of the church,” said Bushiri’s spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo.
“This Mrwebi woman has been running an extortion syndicate against the prophet through sending girls to demand money from him and if he doesn’t give them, she told the girls to go public and accuse him of raping them. We reported the matter in 2018 to several state institutions such as State Security Agency, Inspector General of Intelligence, police commissioners, and including the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to bring this woman to justice and leave (Bushiri) alone.”
Nyondo said “unfortunately there hasn’t been any action taken”.
The ECG spokesperson said the Hawks officer working with Mashishi “recruited several girls to be interviewed by eTV to accuse the prophet of raping them”.
“Some of these girls secretly came to us, demanding various amounts ranging from R50,000 to R2 million for their masters, as aforementioned, in order to stop the story from being aired by eTV. We recorded them and you can see for yourself the video.
“Well, we told them we are not giving a single coin to them to stop eTV from running this story. eTV must go ahead and eTV really did, through interviewing women whose faces were covered and none can ascertain their identities. We want to warn every party involved in this syndicate that Prophet Bushiri has overwhelming evidence of all their doings. A serious legal suit is on the cards.”
On Thursday, however, the Hawks questioned Bushiri’s assertions and allegations. The elite crime-fighting unit accused Bushiri of trying to smear its officer.
“Why wait for three years? Let him open a case with Ipid, SAPS or the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) judge. We are also keen to know the truth. It is well and good to write media statements and making serious allegations, but they don’t prove anything,” said Hawks national spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
“As a responsible leader, the prophet must lead and take the nation into his confidence and open a case against the DPCI member. Until then we view the allegations as a smear campaign against our member and the DPCI.”
Mashishi also hit back at the ECG, saying the church is in “a desperate attempt to divert attention from the leader of a corrupt and criminal organisation like ECG”.
“We encourage him to open a case of such extortion if he truly has evidence of this alleged extortion so that law enforcement can take its course,” said Mashishi.
– African News Agency (ANA)