Bushiri update: SA committed to maintaining cordial Malawi relations, says Dirco

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said gave an update on “Prophet” Bushiri’s escape, saying that South Africa and Malawi “are committed to maintaining […] rule of law”.

As reported by Times Live, Dirco spokesperson Clayton Monyela on Tuesday, 17 November said “some concerns and misunderstanding within the Malawian delegation” have been addressed.

Prophet Bushiri update: Dirco responds

SADC member states

Clayton Monyela explained that as SADC member states, both South Africa and Malawi must maintain the region “as a zone committed to the rule of law, peace and development.” He added:

“All the SADC protocols signed and ratified by member states are critical in this context”.

He explained that the delayed departure of Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera’s aircraft from South African soil was unavoidable and reiterated that no “SA officials compromised diplomatic courtesies”.

He also added that South Africa enjoyed cordial relations with Malawi, of which the Malawian president’s recent successful visit to South Africa is proof.

Bilateral co-operation between SA and Malawi

Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Chakwera “expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral co-operation as conducted within the framework of the Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation”.

In addition, both heads of state “reiterated their commitment to improving and strengthening political and economic relations” between Malawi and South Africa.

It can only be done by “enhancing co-operation between the business communities of the two countries as well as increasing trade and investment”, Monyela explained.

Bushiri’s grand escape

Dirco’s statement follows after self-proclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and Prophetess Mary fled South Africa over the weekend, despite bail conditions preventing them from leaving the province, let alone the country.

The couple shared via social media that they went to Malawi after “fearing for lives”. A photo of Bushiri at his home with his former lawyer surfaced on Twitter on Saturday.

Their departure made headlines almost immediately, and it was soon rumoured Prophet Bushiri escaped the country on Chakwera’s presidential jet, which departed from SA Friday evening.

President Chakwera rumoured involvement

On Saturday, President Chakwera “categorically refuted allegations that he gave Prophet Bushiri a lift on his plane which departed South Africa”, as reported by Nomsa Maseko.

In addition, the Malawian president’s press secretary Brian Banda confirmed the allegations are false and that “the prophet was not on the President’s plane [Friday evening].”

The Nation Publications Limited in Malawi corroborated the statement, saying the president’s press team “dismissed any fears Bushiri was offered a ride on the president’s plane”.

The Hawks released a statement the following day, saying that the Bushiri’s Centurion home would be the seized if the couple “failed to present themselves at court on Thursday 19 November 2020”.