'25k to dine with Major 1' - Bushiri slammed for charging congregants

"Prophet" Shepherd Bushiri has been criticised by the CRL Commission for charging his followers R25000 to sit next to him at a gala dinner. / Facebook

The CRL Commission has condemned "Prophet" Shepherd Bushiri and his church after reports that his followers will be charged up to R25000 to sit next to him at a gala dinner next week.

CRL Commission chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva has slammed the
Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) as being divisive: "We believe that every congregant should be allowed to attend fellowship in the name of God.

"Your socio-economic status should not exclude you from any participation in any religious programme. Church should be an equaliser and not a divider where the poor feel marginalised."

The controversial prophet's ECG Gala Dinner With Major 1 is to be hosted on the evening of December 23 at the Pretoria Showgrounds.

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said people will continue to suffer at the hands of pastors if those in power don't intervene.

"We have repeatedly said that until parliament, specifically the portfolio committee on CoGTA (Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs), decides what to do with our recommendations, such problems and challenges will remain. If a Peer Review Committee had already been set up they would be dealing with this matter as peers of Prophet Bushiri," she said.

"It is our belief that the greater majority of followers spend a lot of money trying to make sure that they are promoting the objectives of the church concerned. Our worst fear is that some of them may be spending money thinking that they may be buying attention and blessings from their religious leader."

It is not yet clear what is expected to happen on the night as the church's organising committee declined to comment and did not reply to an e-mail sent to them.

Bushiri's dinner has divided the Christian community into half. Some called the event a scam.

"R25000 to dine with Bushiri. I'm sure Jesus Himself is the surprise guest," shared @AmBlujay on twitter.

Naomi Nyathela commented: "Guys please protect your mothers and grandmothers from scammers like Bushiri. Hide their credit cards or car keys so they don't go pay R25000 for a stupid dinner. God listens to our prayers even when we are sitting in our houses. God is everywhere."

The ECG supporters, however, pushed back.

Apostle Makwarior Mashalane of the His Presence Gospel Ministry shared: "When they attend Gala Dinner in the secular world no (one) complain. It's like when they visit tombstones of their fellow comrades every year/ Hector Peterson, Biko, Tambo and others they are not visiting ancestors, just visit your own mother, father or brother you will be told that you won't see Heaven (sic)."

Tee Mokoena said: "I dont blame Bushiri. I blame desperate South Africans, ignorant Christians and the local pastors for allowing such."

The SA Council of Churches was unavailable for comment.