Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola has revealed that the South African government expects to send documents of the extradition process of fugitive pastor, Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, as prescribed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol.
“We expect to send the extradition papers in two weeks instead of the 30 days set by SADC.
“It’s date we have set ourselves as the central authority because we understand the urgency of the matter and upon sending the document we will communicate with our colleagues in Malawi with the requests that have been mentioned in the documents,” he said
This came after a Cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday, 18 November. The Bushiris violated their bail conditions by skipping the country to Malawi.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Lamola said Cabinet was “satisfied” with the manner in which the justice, crime, prevention and security cluster had handled the Bushiris’ matter. However, the minister added that it had not yet been established how the couple escaped the country.
“Cabinet was also briefed on the issue of Mr Shepherd and Mrs Mary Bushiri, who fled to Malawi while out on bail of R200,000 each following charges of fraud and money laundering.
“I don’t want to fuel any further speculation on how they fled South Africa, but warrants of arrest have already been issued and they have been reflagged by international organisation Interpol in the process. After that then the provisional arrest will be able to kickstart the extradition process under SADC protocols.
“They will without a doubt be back in South Africa so they can stand trial and we assure them that the legal process will be fair, as it has always been.
“We are confident that the Malawian government will handle the extradition, and the matter overall, with care. We believe that the Malawian judiciary is robust and capable of withstanding pressure on any matter,” he said.
Bushiri and his wife Mary were granted bail of R200,000 and stand accused of theft, money laundering, and fraud.
The Bushiris were due in court on the matter in January 2021.
The first warrant of arrest was issued for the couple on Monday, while a second warrant of arrest was issued by the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday
They were out on R100,000 bail each and were required to regularly present themselves to authorities as part of complying with their bail conditions.