“He Used Skelm Means To Escape,” S.A. Home Affairs Minister On Bushiri. “If He Had Alcohol You Would Have Caught Him,” Citizens React.
16 November 2020

Paul Nyathi

Bheki Cele

South African Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that fugitive Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary did not use any of SA’s official ports of entry when they escaped to Malawi.

But if they did, Motsoaledi says they must have bribed their way through.

“Leaving a country is not something that is impossible as people think…There is always a way to escape if you are a real skelm [rascal]. In the same way we were able to skip and leave the country during the liberation movement through areas which the boers did not know, somebody can still do that today,” he said, pointing out that he was angered by what the Bushiris have done.

“For us as home affairs, we’ve satisfied ourselves that none of the ports of entries were used… The rest is for the police and intelligence to see how he left through illegal means,” Motsoaledi said.

Police minister Bheki Cele is at the receiving end of criticism on social media as users blame him in part for the escape of Bushiri and his wife Mary.

Many have questioned what the police minister is doing to ensure the couple is held accountable for violating their bail conditions, which barred them from travelling outside SA. Some have expressed doubt the minister would solve the case at all, unless it involves alcohol.

“If Bushiri had some alcohol in his luggage, Bheki Cele would have caught him before reaching Malawi,” one user tweeted on Sunday.

Another wrote: “So vele our minister of police Bheki Cele is only after alcohol because I don’t see anything about Bushiri?”

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Bushiri announced that he and his wife left SA “because of safety and security issues since 2015”.

“There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection,” Bushiri claimed without providing evidence.

Bushiri and his co-accused Mary, Landiwe Ntlokwana Zethu and Willie Mudolo are facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R106m investment scheme.

The Bushiris were released on R200,000 bail each on November 4 after their arrest last month. They had spent nearly two weeks in custody.

Bail conditions set by the court included that the couple is barred from travelling outside SA and only permitted to travel in Gauteng and North West.

They were also barred from disposing of any property; had to hand over to the state the original title deed to their R5.5m property in Midstream Estate, Centurion; and were barred from threatening witnesses and the investigation and prosecution teams, even while preaching.

Bushiri’s lawyer Terrence Baloyi said the legal representatives did not know how Bushiri fled the country as he did not inform them about his move.