Bushiri and me – he’s just my spir­i­tual fa­ther

CityPress - - News - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA [email protected]­press.co.za

Con­tro­ver­sial self-styled prophet Shep­herd Bushiri (35) is fend­ing off ru­mours of an af­fair with a young con­gre­gant.

Sources told City Press that Bushiri’s al­leged mis­tress is 25-yearold Phumzile Paledi, a woman from Lim­popo who is a pre­sen­ter on his Prophetic Chan­nel TV. They claim that Bushiri has cosied up to the for­mer club host­ess and that their re­la­tion­ship is far from pla­tonic.

Paledi strongly de­nies that there is any­thing un­to­ward go­ing on be­tween her and the Malaw­ian pas­tor.

“Bushiri is my spir­i­tual fa­ther; there is noth­ing more than that,” she said.

Bushiri’s lawyer, Ter­rance Baloyi, slammed the ru­mours, say­ing the “prophet” had pre­vi­ously been ac­cused of rape and money laun­der­ing, and sus­pi­cions about his re­la­tion­ship with Paledi were sim­ply part of a smear cam­paign.

He added that Bushiri was al­ways with Mary, his wife of seven years.

“Last year was a tough year for him. It wasn’t easy for him. Peo­ple may hate you for your suc­cess,” said Baloyi.

Asked about pic­tures taken by the pair, Baloyi said: “If you are work­ing closely with the prophet, you will be for­tu­nate to take pic­tures with him.”

How­ever, many are ques­tion­ing who is fi­nanc­ing Paledi’s life­style.

“I work as a TV pre­sen­ter and I get paid like ev­ery­one else, so it is un­fair for peo­ple to ques­tion my life­style,” she fumed.

A well-placed source told City Press that Paledi trav­els with the pas­tor from his En­light­ened Chris­tian Gath­er­ing church and the con­gre­ga­tion be­lieves that they are more than just friends.

“I trav­elled with him a lot last year be­cause it was a year of win­ning souls and be­cause I am a pre­sen­ter at church,” she said in re­sponse.

Paledi, who met Bushiri at the church when she was 19 years old, said peo­ple were jeal­ous of her lux­u­ri­ous life­style and she was tired of the ru­mours.

“Peo­ple must just leave me alone. Ev­ery year I am ac­cused of dat­ing a pas­tor, maybe it’s about time I set the record straight so they will leave me alone,” she said.

Bushiri has been in the news for the past week after three women died in a stam­pede dur­ing a ser­vice at the Pre­to­ria Show­grounds last Fri­day, when wor­ship­pers dashed for cover dur­ing a storm.

It was re­ported this week that church of­fi­cials did not call po­lice to the scene, but sim­ply took the bod­ies to the mor­tu­ary. The de­ceased’s fam­ily mem­bers de­manded an­swers from the church about the deaths, but re­ceived lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion.

This week, the SA Na­tional Civics Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Sanco) protested out­side Bushiri’s church, but called a truce after meet­ing with Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, the chair­per­son of the Com­mis­sion for the Pro­mo­tion and Pro­tec­tion of Cul­tural, Re­li­gious and Lin­guis­tic Com­mu­ni­ties Rights.

“All the fights be­tween Sanco and the church must stop with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. We as­sisted all three fam­i­lies emo­tion­ally and fi­nan­cially. Our pas­tors will be pro­vid­ing the de­ceased’s fam­i­lies with sup­port,” Baloyi said, adding that the church un­der­stood and re­spected that money could not bring back their loved ones.

Bushiri trav­elled to Malawi this week.

“When the prophet comes back, we need to come up with a pro­gramme to help the de­ceased’s fam­i­lies as much as we can,” Baloyi added.

The po­lice, he said, were in­ves­ti­gat­ing and they could not in­ter­fere with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We are also do­ing our own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This mat­ter re­quires a high level of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The po­lice are do­ing their part to find an­swers.

“All we know is that there was a stam­pede. We don’t know who re­moved the bod­ies of the de­ceased. It hap­pened so quickly; no one saw this hap­pen­ing,” he said.

LIV­ING LAV­ISH Phumzile Paledi

FA­THER-DAUGH­TER THINGS Phumzile Paledi’s re­la­tion­ship with Shep­herd Bushiri has been called into ques­tion

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