Pastor Shepherd Bushiri ministries fined R87 500

Pastor Shepherd Bushiri’s church has been slapped with an R87 500 fine for the illegal construction of a mega-church.

The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) – part of the pastor’s network of business and church ventures – had started construction of the 10 000-seater church on a site in Midrand in December 2015. But locals complained to the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development that they had not been consulted.

Consultation is an integral part of an environmental impact assessment, a legal requirement for any construction to go ahead.

The department sent a Green Scorpion to inspect the site. In response to Mail & Guardian questions last month, the department said: “ECG had not submitted an environmental impact assessment, or other environmental permissions required prior to construction.”

A compliance notice was then issued to the church, “with the instruction to cease with all illegal activities on the site”. The church was also told to do the required environmental assessments, including public participation, before it applied for permission to build.


The church chose instead to use a loophole in environmental law: a Section 24G rectification. This allowed the church to admit guilt and fix their damage, before restarting the process to get environmental authorisation.

The R87 500 fine “for unlawful commencement of activities”, which could have been up to R5-million, is the second stage of that 24G process. Payment would mean the church could then get the necessary environmental authorisation.

That authorisation has, however, now become unnecessary because Bushiri’s church has applied for environmental permission for a different, larger, site less than a kilometre away.

Initial plans show a 35 000-seater mega-church with 8 000 parking bays, a university for 3 500 students and high-density residential units.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sipho Kings
Sipho Kings is the acting editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian
Advertising

ANC wants pension funds to finance infrastructure build

The party released its plan for the reconstruction of the country’s post-coronavirus economy on Friday. This would involve changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act

Ebrahim Patel MIA as the South African National Accreditation System...

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has failed to intervene at the South African National Accreditation System since being made aware of alleged board inteference last November

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday