ECG leader self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri has denounced the ongoing spate of gender-based violence in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Pretoria - Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader, self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri, has denounced the ongoing spate of gender-based violence in South Africa.

Addressing throngs of followers at the ECG's Iron Man Conference hosted at the Coca Cola Dome in Johannesburg this weekend, the charismatic preacher challenged men to actively protect women from violence.

"Let me send my sincere condolences to all the families that have lost relatives to gender-induced violence. God created man to protect women, but it’s painful to note that we, men, are not living [up] to that responsibility," he said.

“Today, I am here to tell you that no more gender-based violence. As men, let us protect our women. That is what God want us to be."

Last week, more than a thousand members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) marched against gender-based violence in Pretoria, amidst a surge in murders and sexual crimes against women and children.

Bushiri's spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo said the ECG conference drew 20,000 men from different parts of the world.

"In his message, titled "Knocked Down, But Not Knocked Out", prophet Bushiri challenged men across the world to reclaim their mantle of leadership through developing a spirit of perseverance and tenacity," Nyondo said in a statement issued on Sunday.

"The conference also saw great performances from some of South Africa’s greatest gospel icons such as Sipho Makhabane and Israel Mosehla. Besides that, participants were also drilled in different areas such as entrepreneurship, marriage, relationship, and leadership. The annual conference is part of ECG men’s ministry - aimed at bringing all men across the world, even non-ECG members, to share and discuss issues affecting men across the world."

Nyondo said the ECG now had over 180 branches in 26 countries across the world.

African News Agency (ANA)