South Africa

WATCH: I’m in Parliament because of you, Boy Mamabolo tells Bushiri

African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo has come out in support of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.

Bushiri and Mary were arrested last week in connection with charges of fraud and money laundering worth R102 million.

Their bail application was postponed to Friday after the magistrate said he could not commit to hearing it in the next coming days.

The self-proclaimed prophet and his co-accused are expected back in court on Friday.

Scores of Bushiri’s supporters sang in protest outside the court in support of their prophet who they want released from custody.

Mamabolo’s support for the Bushiris comes after the church released a statement thanking those who have been rallying behind the couple.

“The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church would like to appreciate organisations such as Sanco Gauteng, #NOTINMYNAME and MP Honourable Boy Mamabolo for coming up to stand with prophet Shepherd Bushiri and prophetess Mary Bushiri as they appear before the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Monday for their bail hearing.

“We value the position these two organisations and our parliamentarian honourable Mamabolo have taken as it demonstrates their strongest belief in justice and unity. We also want to take this opportunity to also extend our gratitude to several other church leaders, civil rights groups and other parliamentarians who have spoken strong in solidarity with Bushiri and Mary,” reads the statement.

Following their court appearance, Mamabolo encouraged Bushiri’s followers to keep supporting him, further sending a “strong message” to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, much to social media users’ amusement.

He said: “I’m in Parliament because of you, so there’s no way I could turn my back against you. The strong message to Dr Motsoaledi, don’t think the department of home affairs is yours. You are a minister there, the president can remove you any time. Respect us so that we respect you. All church leaders in this country must be treated equally.

“We’ve been here since this morning, I’m going to lay this concern with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to say we come here in the morning, they postpone the matter. This is absolutely wrong.”

Also read: EFF MP Naledi Chirwa stokes controversy after video with Bushiri emerges

Home Affairs is investigating the couple’s permanent residency status following alleged discrepancies that were found in their application for permanent residency.

Motsoaledi told eNCA on Sunday: “She [Mary] came to South Africa for the first time in 2009 and got a visitor’s visa. Then she re-entered the country in 2012, and produced a permanent resident visa produced in 1997. Bushiri applied for permanent residency and made a declaration under oath that he entered the country in 2015 when our records already showed that he entered the country in 2009.”

In August, Mamabolo had to apologise to Sunday World journalist Ngwako Malatji for threats he made during an interview. This, after the ANC instituted an internal disciplinary process against Mamabolo. Mamabolo pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to attend an anger management class.

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