Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary attracted a large group of followers on Wednesday morning. The devoted congregants of his church, Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), gathered outside Pretoria’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, where they danced, screamed, whistled, and displayed placards.
One placard said: “You touch major 1 by mistake / You will die by correction / Hands off God’s prophet”.
“Major one” is what the self-proclaimed prophet is known as among his followers.
Video by Jacques Nelles.
A post circulating on social media, purporting to be from Bushiri himself, was being shared from early on Wednesday morning. It was posted on a Facebook page that has over 3 million followers under Bushiri’s name.
The post called on followers to show up in their thousands to support “Major 1 and your spiritual mum”, but also urged the crowd to avoid political messaging. The post also urged Bushiri’s followers against indulging in “any kind of violence”.
“It is NOT your duty as stewards of ECG or children of God to make political statements, to warn political players, or indulge in politics,” the post read.
“I want to ask you, as someone you love and respect, that you show up in hundreds or thousands, to pray, to offer support to your father, to praise God in this storm, but not to indulge in political statements or any sign of violence.”
After Bushiri and Mary were granted bail of R10,000 each, the case was postponed until May 10.
The couple will have to stay in Gauteng as one of the bail conditions.
The self-proclaimed prophet and his wife stand accused of fraud and money laundering.
Hawks and police arrested them on several charges on February 1, including contravening the Exchange Control Regulations Act in relation to $1,147,200 worth of foreign currency.
The arrest came mere hours after the CRL Rights Commission cleared him of responsibility for a deadly stampede at his church in Pretoria, in which three people died.
Daniel Friedman / The Citizen