By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Self-proclaimed Prophet, Shepherd Bushiri and his wife have left South Africa.
They were only allowed to travel within Gauteng and North West until the case was finalised after being granted bail of R200 000 each by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on November 4.
The couple, who are now in Malawi, and their three co-accused face fraud and money laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at about R102 million after being arrested in October.
Bushiri said in a statement on their arrival in Malawi that they fear for their safety and he wants several demands met before returning for trial.
"I would like to inform the general public that my wife, Mary, and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security fears since 2015, matters that got worse when we just got out on bail," the statement read.
"There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection.
"Our coming to Malawi, hence, is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa solely meant to preserve our lives.
"The attempts have heightened with recent spates of arrest and detentions that we felt the only way for us to clear our names before the law is to ensure that our lives are preserved.
"My wife and I strongly believe in our innocence but this cannot be proved if our lives not preserved. We have to be alive to testify to our innocence."
All of the accused had to report at a nearby police station on Monday and Friday between 6am and 6pm.
The pair face charges of fraud, theft and money laundering and are currently out on bail.
Meanwhile Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has requested that the South African government introduces special permits to his citizens that are working locally.
Chakwera was leading a delegation of ministers who met with President Cyril Ramaphosa and various members of his Cabinet in Pretoria.
Chakwera was upfront about the humanitarian agreements that he would like to see the two countries sign.
"I want to ask that you allow the special permits to be issued to Malawian migrants employed in the informal sector just as is the case for Zimbabwean and Lesotho [migrants]. In the same vein, I would like to ask that Malawians be able to apply for new permits and renew expired ones while in South Africa as a reciprocal arrangement. More broadly I request your help in simplifying visa extension procedures."
Chakwera has also expressed concern about how long it takes to deport Malawians from the Lindela Repatriation Centre.