Magistrates’ Court, Pretoria, South Africa: 04 November 2020, All accused appeared before the magistrate’s court in Pretoria. The court dealt with the background of the application for bail. The State had applied for a postponement as it was not ready to proceed with a bail hearing which was dismissed by the court.
The accused proceeded to present affidavits in support of their application for bail. No oral evidence was led by any of the accused. Accused 1 did not apply for bail as he was not ready to do so. The State also presented affidavits to oppose the release of the accused on bail. The Court referred to the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 and observed that, as a starting point, an accused person who has been arrested in respect of the commission of an offence is entitled to be released on bail pending the hearing of the matter in respect of which they have been arrested.
The Court found in respect of accused 2 that she is a housewife and a South African citizen with two minor children one of whom is still breastfeeding. That she has only been implicated in the cases as a result of her marriage to accused 1. She resigned from accused 3, Rising Estate Investment in 2017. This was not disputed by the State. She has got strong ties to South Africa and that she requires constant medical attention for an underlying condition.
In respect of accused 4 & 5, the court observed that they are Malawian citizens currently holding South African Permanent Residence Permits, although the State has disputed the validity of those permits.That issue is currently the subject of a High Court application in which the Minister of Home Affairs is a party. The State has said that the accused are a flight risk, but the court did not agree with the State on the basis that the accused are prominent church leaders of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG). The accused were previously granted bail on certain conditions and they observed the bail conditions. The accused own property in South Africa. The accused have previously surrendered their travel documents to the investigating officer.
Accused no. 6 is a South African citizen with strong family ties in South Africa.
The decision of the Court is that the application by the accused to be released on bail is granted. Bail amount in respect of accused 2 is fixed in the amount of R20 000.00, iro accused 4 & 5 in the amount of R200 000.00 each and in respect of accused 6, in the amount of R100 000.00. Bail conditions are that the accused should attend court at all times to which the matter is remanded; should not interfere with state witnesses; are prohibited from undertaking any travel outside the Republic of South Africa. Accused 4 & 5 should surrender the title deed to their property in Johannesburg valued at R5,5 million as additional security to the State. In their preaching to their congregation, accused 4 & 5 are prohibited from mentioning or intimidating any of the state witnesses, the investigation officers or prosecutors in the matter.
The case was postponed to Friday, 06 November 2020 for bail application by accused 1. Accused 1 will remain custody. Crowds of ECG supporters were waiting outside the court to be addressed by prophet Bushiri, but he could not, probably because he still needs to understand the limitations imposed by the bail conditions on his freedom of speech.