Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, said he will co-operate with the law enforcement agencies in their investigation into allegations of rape against him.
These after two women opened cases of rape against him, claiming that he raped them on separate occasions at a hotel in Pretoria.
“The past few days have seen allegations of the violation of women come up against me by women who claim to be my victims. I have observed the rage and the anger by women following these serious allegations. I would like to therefore send a strong message to all women out there that I take the allegations directed at me very seriously. I will subject myself to law enforcement agencies and I will cooperate with any form of investigation against me pertaining to said allegations,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Bushiri also pleaded with his church members to exercise restrain and refrain from trading insults with those who are angry with him over the rape allegations.
“I fully comprehend and most notably understand the gravity and depth of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and femicide in this country. I have watched how the headlines have been filled with women who get killed by men, raped by men, tortured and abused by men.
I am very much aware of how the church and its leaders in general cannot be exonerated from the violation of women and children. It is for this reason that our church adopted a GBV policy a while back and of fundamental importance embedded and entrenched in the policy is to encourage victims to speak out.
As contained in the aforesaid policy, disciplinary procedures and code of ethics put in place firm consequences against pastors and our church leaders that are accused and are found guilty of violating women and children.
In this vein, I would like to urge our church members and supporters to desist and refrain from issuing remarks and statements on social media that are against people who support alleged rape victims.
I don’t want my name to be used or associated with anyone who insults, discourages or acts in a manner that speaks against anyone supporting the alleged victims.
Further, I would also like to request our peaceful and justice-loving church members and supporters not to discourage or harass those who come out to raise allegations against me.
I understand the pains of women and how they live in fear from being violated every day. Those who follow my teachings will surely attest to this.
,” he said.
Bushiri also said the rape allegations him were fabricated by a syndicate that wanted to extort money from him and he has evidence to support his version of events.
“ I have been threatened with demands of money or I would be brought down through many means including allegations of this nature.
We have kept the evidence of these threats which we reported to law enforcement agencies such as IPID and SAPS in 2018 and 2019 respectively, case numbers are available should need arises. We still at this point pursuing other legal remedies at our disposal among others Harassment Act provisions.
In my pursuit to seek justice for myself and to expose the extortion syndicate that has been demanding money from me and threaten me with rape allegations if I don’t pay exorbitant amounts, I will not in any way seek to undermine the struggles of women and the harsh realities they are confronted with daily.
It has been very difficult for me because am frustrated with wanting to expose the extortion syndicate while not presenting myself as insensitive to the serious scourge of GBV and the justified rage and anger of women in responding to such allegations,” he said.