by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE Bushiris’ flouting of bail conditions and skipping to Malawi makes a mockery of South Africa’s judicial system, highlights the corruption at the Department of Home Affairs and the porousness of the country’s borders.
It makes these leaky borders a security threat.
Self-proclaimed pastor, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, have skipped the country and returned to their homeland in Malawi, in the process defying bail of R200 000 (about $12, 500) issued by the courts in their trial for alleged fraud, theft, and money laundering to the value of R102 million ($6.4 million).
It is unclear which point of departure they used to flee South Africa.
They were arrested in October.
According to reports, the pair allegedly bribed Home Affairs officials.
The opposition Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Angel Khanyile, the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said this was a serious indictment on the role of Home Affairs and border control to effectively police South Africa’s ports of entry and secure the movement of individuals to and from the country.
“More worryingly, Bushiri’s escape brings into question the security and safety of our nation given how easily border management systems can be manipulated by corruption and bribery.”
Khanyile said this was especially in light of reports of insurgents led by religious extremists in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique.
It is a mystery how the Bushiris escaped the country without passports considering that their documents were supposedly handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority when they were granted bail.
Khanyile said their escape, effortlessly, was “a slap in the face” to the millions of South African citizens deserving of swift justice for the Bushiris’ alleged crime.
“There is evidently nothing stopping criminals from evading justice in South Africa by border-hopping when Home Affairs has no control over who enters and leaves our country,” the opposition politician stated.
South Africa’s borders are extremely porous and this, coupled with corruption, has led to the entry of undocumented foreign nationals.
The DA has called on the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to appear before Parliament to account for the department’s alleged failure to effectively manage South Africa’s ports of entry and departure, leading to the Bushiris’ escape.
Minister Motsoaledi has suspended two senior Home Affairs officials allegedly linked to the Bushiris’ circus.
Upon arriving in Malawi, Bushiri claimed they skipped the country as their lives were in danger in South Africa.
He made some demands for the South African government to fulfill before he could consider returning for trial.
It is believed the extradition process is underway.
The Bushiri’s skipping bail coincided with the official visit of Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwerra, officially visiting South Africa.
– CAJ News