Pretoria - Self-proclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his four co-accused will find out on Wednesday if their followers’ prayers and legal representatives have managed to secure their release on bail.
This as the state and the various defence teams delivered their heads of arguments in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today.
As per usual members of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church came out once again in their numbers outside the courthouse to pray for the release of their “spiritual father and mother” on bail.
Leaders outside the court spoke to the crowds who were singing struggle songs that everyone was a member of the church and not just foreign nationals.
“Phantsi ngo mona, Phantsi ngo xenophobia (Down with jealousy, down with xenophobia). They say this church is filled with foreigners but that is not the case, there are Shangaan, Venda, Pedi, American, DA, EFF, ANC members every national possible is here because this is an international church.”
Inside the court, the state prosecutor indicated that the reason for the state requesting that bail be denied to the accused was due to the strength of the case which it said was detailed in the charge sheet.
Moreover, she said that Bushiri had over R200 million in debt, and their hotel Sparkling Water being attached as security for that debt.
With this in mind, she said she believed there was even more motivation for the accused to flee the country.
She said that placing conditions for the accused to hand over their travel documents was of no comfort as they were by their own assertions millionaires and could afford to forfeit their bail by evading trial.
She added that while it had been confirmed last week that Bushiri and his wife were in possession of Malawian diplomatic passports those however had no bearing in South Africa.
Annelien van den Heever for the defence once again implored that the courts take the facts into account and not merely the state’s assertions.
Van den Heever said it was the state’s duty to provide evidence of its issues as she said it was only providing the courts with bits and pieces of information that were misleading.
She said the state had a burden to provide the full evidence to the courts and not base its arguments on speculation and innuendos alone.
Magistrate Thandi Theledi will deliver her judgement on Wednesday in court 16.