The Old Mutual building in Pretoria where Shepherd Bushiri University, which is being investigated, is located.Picture: Oupa Mokoena
The Old Mutual building in Pretoria where Shepherd Bushiri University, which is being investigated, is located.Picture: Oupa Mokoena

City university linked to Malawian prophet being investigated

By Virgilatte Gwangwa Time of article published Jul 20, 2017

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Virgilatte Gwangwa

THE ownership of a city university, called Shepherd Bushiri University and linked to controversial Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri, is under investigation by the Department of Higher Education, which said yesterday that modules and courses offered were bogus and unregistered.

The department said the institution was operating illegally, and department spokesperson Madikwe Mabotha said: “It is not registered with the department as either a private college or private higher education institution as required by law.”

Investigations came after the department received several complaints from prospective students and the public regarding the university.

“The department treats this case very seriously and has approached law enforcement authorities to assist with investigations,” she said.

The department had also sent a warning letter to the institution’s operators instructing them to cease any illegal operations immediately.

A team from the Pretoria News visited the premises of the institution in the Old Mutual Building on the corner Francis Baard and Steve Biko Streets in Arcadia.

Their staff said they only offered one of the eight courses advertised on their brochure and Facebook page.

In the brochures and on Facebook, the Shepherd Bushiri University offers students courses in accounting, business administration, nursing, aviation, theology, sciences and IT.

But, said a staffer at the institution, yesterday: “Currently we only offer an accredited theology course.”

The employee explained that one could only acquire the certificate after completing all the modules, which had to be taken during three-month courses, she said.

“You only register for a three-month course but you can only acquire the certificate once you have completed the course for a year. This means you need to register every term until you complete all the modules so that you can be able to get the certificate,” she said.

Her colleagues said the university offered theology but would soon introduce other courses such as economics and information, communication and technology (ICT).

“Our website is being updated but you can look out for new courses like economics and ICT to be launched soon,” she said. They told the Pretoria News team that all applications were done online.

In a social media post last year, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri announced that he would launch a university. He mentioned that it would specialise in courses like accounting, business administration, nursing, aviation, theology and information technology.

“SBU is a new university and is coming to realise your education dreams whether online or on campus,” Prophet Bushiri wrote.

He commands a large number of followers and mainly operates from a venue in the Tshwane Events Centre, where 40 people were injured during a stampede when they tried to get into the centre for a service two years ago.

He became infamous after posting footage of himself levitating and using technology to link families with loved ones who were far away. He has also been accused of paying worshippers to praise him.

“The brochure is misleading prospective students because none of the eight courses they claim to have credit allocation for is accredited with the relevant quality assurer - Quality Council for Trades and Occupations,” the department’s director of registration Dr Shaheeda Essack said.

The department has urged prospective students to remain vigilant and to verify the accreditation credentials of institutions with the department before enrolling.

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