Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE / GCIS
Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE / GCIS

An urgent meeting of the justice, crime prevention & safety cluster of cabinet ministers was held on Thursday to discuss the extradition of self-proclaimed  prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary and to ensure that the investigation into how and when the couple fled the country was expedited.

The Bushiris are on bail of R200,000 each after charges of fraud and money laundering involving R100m were laid against them. They fled SA last week, saying they feared for their safety and security. They were arrested in Malawi earlier this week after an arrest warrant and Interpol alert was issued by the SA police.

Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola did not want to speculate on how the Bushiris left SA for Malawi. But earlier in the week home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi acknowledged in parliament that SA’s borders were porous.

Lamola said the government had always been seized with the problem of SA’s porous borders, which he said would be addressed by the new border management authority, which would bring together all departments involved in border management under one authority.

At a media briefing, Lamola said the extradition of the Bushiris had been kick-started by their provisional arrest in Malawi. SA would ensure that the Malawian authorities received the formal extradition request — made in terms of Southern African Development Community protocols and the bilateral extradition treaty between SA and Malawi — within two weeks rather than the 30 days allowed.

The National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks are compiling the formal extradition request which must detail the charges faced and all the details of the investigation.

“The SA government is going to do everything in its power to ensure that they return to SA to face trial,” Lamola said and gave the assurance that the Bushiris would receive a fair trial in SA.

He noted the Malawian authorities had displayed a high level of co-operation so far.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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