The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Parliament’s Chairperson of the Home Affairs Committee requesting a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committees on Home Affairs, International Relations, Justice and Police so that the respective departments can provide feedback on the extradition process involving Malawi fugitives, Shepherd and Mary Bushiri.
This past week, government confirmed that extradition proceedings have been initiated against the self-proclaimed prophet and his wife.
The DA says in light of the manner in which the Bushiris were able to skip the country undetected, it’s important that the relevant departments brief Parliament in order to satisfy the public that the process is progressing smoothly.
“The Departments of Home Affairs, International Relations, Justice and Police are the key government departments involved in extradition and given the haphazard manner in which they have previously dealt with this case – whether it’s the Bushiris’ immigration status or the enforcement of their bail condition – no stone can be left unturned to ensure that due processes are being followed.”
DA wants ‘real answers’
The DA has further requested that the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, again appear before the Committee to this provide “real answers” regarding the Bushiris.
“During his previous appearance before the committee, Motsoaledi failed to shed any real light over the events related to the Bushiri-escape. Hopefully he will be able to provide real answers if he has another opportunity to appear.”
Citing a report in today’s Sunday Independent newspaper which states that the Bushiris had help from both the Malawian and South African governments to flee South Africa, the DA also wants the home affairs minister to provide the committee with the CCTV footage from the Waterkloof Air Force Base of the hours leading up to the Bushiris’ flight from South Africa.
The Sunday Independent report speaks of a plot that the involved the Bushiris being issued with diplomatic passports bearing fake names and disguises before allegedly being spirited away on Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera’s hired jet.
The DA believes the Waterkloof footage will play an important part of the investigation.
Not the first
The seriousness of this situation cannot be overlooked as this is not first time such episodes have occurred, the DA pointed out.
“In 2015, Omar al Bashir, skipped the country, despite facing charges of war crimes. And in 2017, former Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, fled South Africa despite facing criminal charges over allegedly assaulting a model in a Johannesburg-hotel.”
The DA also referenced a City Press report which said the Bushiris escape also led to the discovery of a massive money laundering scheme by the police. It’s been reported that the couple performed more than 20 000 banking transactions in a single month in an effort to move their assets from South Africa.
“The Bushiri-escape from South Africa to Malawi has again exposed the inefficiencies of our country’s border management system and the dire state of our borders. There clearly is a need for urgent reform.”