How shepherds led their flock astray

Johannesburg – The year 2020 will not only be known for the COVID-19 virus, which has engulfed most countries in a health crisis, but will also be remembered in Mzansi as a year that the religious community got rid of its other plague, alleged fake pastors.

One such “Man of God” was prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church, based in Pretoria but with branches across the country.

After spending more than five years in South Africa, prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary skipped the country after they were granted bail by the Pretoria magistrate’s court, where they faced fraud and money-laundering charges over the disappearance of R102-million in investment funds.

They are currently in Malawi, their home country, and have indicated that they are not prepared to come back to SA to face the law for their alleged transgressions.

Also read: Vehicle owned by Bushiri seized at Beitbridge border, church left outraged

More cases emerged while they were in Malawi, indicating that three rape cases were opened against Bushiri and apparently the National Prosecuting Authority, in collaboration with Home Affairs, were on his heels regarding irregularly obtaining a South African citizenship.

Another prophet, whose days were numbered, is one Jay Israel.

The man who used to run the Eastern Cape’s 3 000-strong church, collapsed after he was exposed as a con artist and fake pastor by some members of his church, including his former public relations advisor, who was later threatened with death for exposing Israel’s dealings publicly.

Prophet Israel is believed to have also fled the country after learning that at least 10 women who were members of his congregation planned to open cases against him for swindling millions of rand from them.

Israel was also exposed for paying actors from Johannesburg to stage events he claimed to be miracles at his church in East London.

Prophet Lukau of Alleluia Ministries is also believed to have left the country and it is not clear whether he will return.

He too was facing scrutiny after he claimed to have resurrected a dead man during a church service.


Foreign church leader Timothy Omotoso is currently behind bars on charges of kidnapping, sex traficking and rape.

Locally, pastor Stephen Zondo has had one of toughest years following revelations that more than five rape cases were opened against him by members of his congregation, including some members of his family.

Bishop Stephen Zondo. PICTURE: FACEBOOK

Also read: Bushiri’s luxury home forfeited to the State 

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