Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi is set to appear before Parliament’s portfolio committee over how Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, fled from South Africa to Malawi last week.
Meanwhile, a warrant of arrest has been issued for Bushiri and his wife, the Hawks confirmed on Monday.
The portfolio committee’s chairperson Bongani Bongo invited the minister to not only answer for the couple’s escape, but also to account for his department’s failure to effectively manage the country’s ports of entry.
DA MP Angel Khanyile welcomed Bongo’s decision, while also urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to engage with Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera to ensure cooperation between the two nations amid the extradition process.
There have been numerous reports suggesting that the Bushiris fled via the Malawian president’s aircraft.
“And while both Pretoria and Lilongwe have denied these allegations, we urge President Ramaphosa to commission an investigation to test these allegations.
“The Bushiris’ escape has laid bare the inefficiencies within our border management system which resulted in wanted fugitives passing through them with ease and without detection. This was not only an indictment on Home Affairs but also on our law enforcement agencies,” Khanyile said in a statement.
However, the Malawian government has dismissed the rumours, saying it was was concerned over the treatment Chakwera received when left the country.
Motsoaledi had previously said that Bushiri and his wife were in South Africa illegally.
The minister said his department had uncovered evidence that the couple entered the country using visitors’ visas and then proceeded to conduct business – contravening immigration laws.