Pretoria – Thousands of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) members could not contain their joy when their charismatic leader, self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri appeared through the observation hatch on the roof of a police armoured vehicle, nicknamed the Nyala, shortly after he and his wife Mary were released on R100 000 bail each by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday.
Pretoria-born Mike Mthembu said he was contemplating withholding his vote in the upcoming elections if the law enforcement agencies continued “harassing the anointed Major One”.
“These thousands of people you see here are sending a clear message to the [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the] Hawks -- touch him again and there will be consequences," Mthembu said.
"It feels surreal that today I have seen my dad [referring to Shepherd Bushiri] through that police vehicle sunroof [the observation hatch of a police Nyala]. I cried in disbelief. The only other event I can think of, similar to this one in this country is the release of Nelson Mandela from Robben Island. Our liberator is back now.”
Leader of the Incredible Happenings Church, self-proclaimed prophet Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng had enchanted the lively crowd of ECG members when he arrived to support his “brother”. Motsoeneng had also been at court on Monday, during the Bushiri’s initial appearance.
After Bushiri’s release on Wednesday, a visibly excited Motsoeneng was again at the forefront -- standing in the midst of police officers hanging onto the bumper of the police Nyala transporting the Bushiris from the court.
“As a man of God, as a prophet of the country, I couldn’t just sit back. We are the body of Christ and we should be supporting each other. If one church falls, it doesn’t mean it will only be that church. It’s the beginning of the fall of other churches. Where we do wrong, we confess our sins to God and he forgives us and gives us a chance. The prophet [Bushiri] has prayed for many people and he has changed many lives,” Mboro said speaking to African News Agency (ANA).
“Being back, it will bring growth to many lives and many people. Whatever he was doing changed many lives, so I’m here to support him as a brother and a friend. The [ECG] members are understandably happy that their mother and father are back. I can tell you, to have a home without a mother and a father is really traumatizing. This is a beginning, and now he should focus on God and his vision to preach the gospel.”
The two highly-popular charismatic preachers have previously buried the hatchet and now support each other.
Before being whisked away in the police Nyala, Bushiri emerged through the observation hatch, intending to speak to his followers. There was a problem with the public address system of the police car.
The thousands of ECG followers chased after the convoy which left the court, along Visagie Street, and all the way into Thabo Sehume Street.
The Bushiris were arrested by the Hawks at their plush Sparkling Waters Resort in Rustenburg in the North West on Friday. They face charges including fraud and money laundering.
African News Agency (ANA)