Pretoria – The gloves are off between controversial prophets, Enlightened Christian Gathering leader Shepherd Bushiri and Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng, head of the Incredible Happenings Ministries.
Mboro won the first round on a technical basis when the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, struck his application off the roll due to lack of urgency, but the fight is by no means over.
However, if Mboro loses the second round – when the court at a date still to be determined finds his statements against Bushiri to be indeed defamatory – he could pay R1million in damages to his rival.
For now, Mboro is not gagged from speaking out against Bushiri – although his words may later come at a hefty price.
Judge David Makhoba this week struck the urgent application launched by Bushiri against Mboro from the roll due to a lack of urgency. He also slapped Bushiri with the legal bill.
The judge said he could in any event not issue the interim gagging order against Mboro at this stage, as it would presuppose findings of defamation – an issue the court will later be asked to deal with.
Mboro meanwhile said after the matter was struck from the roll that he was glad that “the people had won the right to be heard”.
While Bushiri or his followers did not attend the court proceedings this week, Mboro made most of the proceedings.
He made several utterances against Bushiri outside court, and a small crowd hung to his lips. They clapped and nodded their heads in agreement with everything he said.
Mboro was also captured on camera where he vented against a Nando’s outlet, which he claimed would not serve him his lunch this week because of the legal clash between him and Bushiri. He claimed the workers were Bushiri supporters.
Bushiri’s urgent application to gag Mboro as well as former taxi owner Felicia Sibeko and her husband Arthur from badmouthing him on social media and in public followed allegations that he had embezzled money from the poor.
The Sibekos claimed that Bushiri had conned them out of their life savings and that Mboro, as a man of the cloth, was assisting them in recovering their losses.
Mboro made a big show outside court, saying he also assisted other poor members of the flock who were “conned” by Bushiri out of their money.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, who appeared on behalf of Bushiri, argued that apart from making false and defamatory statements against the Pretoria-based Malawian, Mboro was also making xenophobic remarks in relation to his client.
These include statements such as Bushiri is “a liar and he must go back to Malawi.”
Counsel for Mboro argued that the horse had bolted and the statements were already out there, so there was nothing more to do. But Mpofu said until the matter was vented in court when their application for damages and to have the utterances declared defamatory was disposed of, Bushiri’s name was tainted each day if Mboro was not gagged.
The Sibekos claimed they had lost their life savings – R130000 – by investing in Bushiri’s gold forex and commodities scheme. But it emerged in court that Bushiri had paid them back. He even paid them an extra R5000, the judge was told.
Bushiri said he too was a victim to the scheme, which later appeared to have been a scam.