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SA Home Affairs official sacked over Shepherd Bushiri residency

A senior official who recommended Shepherd Bushiri and his family be issued with permanent residence permits they were not entitled to has been dismissed by the home affairs department.

Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church and his family, fled SA in 2020 for his home country of Malawi after being released on R200,000 bail by the Pretoria magistrate’s court.

He and his wife Mary were facing charges of money laundering and fraud in connection with a multimillion-rand investment scheme.

Ronney Marhule, the chief director for permitting
Ronney Marhule, the chief director for permitting

The department said in a statement that Ronney Marhule, the chief director for permitting, was found guilty on two counts of misconduct relating to dishonesty and negligence after a lengthy disciplinary hearing which lasted for almost a year.

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The delays, said the department, arose after Marhule tried in vain to stop the disciplinary process on at least three occasions at the labour court and at the labour appeal court.

Marhule was charged after recommending the approval of the permanent residence permit applications of Bushiri, his spouse and two children. He was also charged with recommending the approval of the permanent residence permits for two other people, Mohamed Afzal Motiwala and Fatima Ebrahim.

The disciplinary hearing found that the “relationship of trust between the employer and the employee has broken down and cannot be restored”.

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the department is committed to ensuring clean governance.

“The outcome of this disciplinary hearing is taking us closer to ensuring that we bring to an end irregular practices and decisions by home affairs officials within the system. We are cracking down on all forms of irregularities wherever we find them at Home Affairs,” he said.