By Howard Feldman, Head of Marketing & People at Synthesis
The Bushiris have fled the country, and the South African government is not disappointed. It is angry. Very, very angry. After posting bail following their fraud and money laundering court appearance, the Bushiris very smartly found themselves back in the promised land of Malawi, without a care in the world. Or so it seems. And no one is happy (aside from the couple).
As self-proclaimed prophets, perhaps it speaks to our lack of faith that we are even surprised by this achievement. Perhaps we should view this as a “sign” that indeed the couple is holy, and that their mission in this world is sanctioned by the highest of authorities: higher even than the SABC under Hlaudi at the peak of his godliness.
Perhaps country borders are a mere construct that might limit us mortals, but that pose no obstacle at all for those who are not bound by earthly restrictions. Or rules. Which might include fraud and money laundering. It might even be that our objection to their alleged behavior says more about us than it does about them. Perhaps we need to take a sharp and honest look at ourselves.
After all, the couple apparently has five passports each. If that doesn’t scream godliness, then I am not sure what does.
The ANC, it seems, did not see this the same way. According to the Sunday Times, the South African president is “extremely angry and has instructed the security cluster to get answers on what happened”. He is not the only one who is less than impressed. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Eyewitness News that he was extremely angry and deeply concerned about fugitives Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, skipping the country because he suspected something like this would happen. A massive “I told you so” if ever there was one.
Apparently he was aware that the South African borders are “porous” (read; Non-existent) and even without the gift of prophecy had predicted exactly how this would play out.
What is perplexing, is that the flight of the shepherds seems to have upset the ANC more than the flagrant levels of corruption that has become synonymous with their brand. In the case of their own internal horror, they are way more measured, refusing to condemn anyone until they have had their day in court. In a way, it seems to be much worse that their cronies don’t need to skip the country, as they are secured in their position of employment and will do whatever it takes rather than see the inside of a court room.
They also seem to have forgotten their role in spiriting Omar al Bashir out of the country even though there was a warrant out for his arrest when he visited South Africa. Which only proves once again that there are none so judgemental as the recently converted or reformed.
In theory, we are meant to be outraged by the behaviour of the prophets. And in theory I am. Outraged. I know that stealing is bad and wrong and I am sure that money laundering is not as clean as it sounds. But the Bushiris are common criminals (allegedly). They stole from the poor but they did not steal from every tax payer and every citizen of the country. They did not make promises about healthcare and education and housing that they did not fulfil. Nor were they voted into a position of responsibility.
For clarity: They might well have taken advantage of the “porous borders”, but they did not create them.
There is a tangible difference between how the ANC reacts to corruption within the party vis-à-vis how it reacts to external embarrassment like the Bushiris. Somehow they seem to lack the desire capacity to acknowledge or feel the same level of shame when it comes to their own behaviour. Which is a pity, really, because if we are comparing, the Bushiris are novices in scale and sophistication.
What is clear, is that somewhere in those Ten Commandment we are asked not to steal. And one doesn’t need to be a prophet of any kind to be aware of that.