In terms of future-telling failures, this is a Major One


Day 209 of life locked down. 

Like many South Africans, I’m wondering when President Cyril Ramaphosa will call another family meeting. It’s been a while since the head of state graced us with a “my fellow South Africans”, like he did when he moved us to level one of lockdown.

He doesn’t claim to be a prophet, yet Bra Yster was able to see the Hawks coming. He saw the warrant for his arrest even before it was written

Perhaps we will get one soon, warning us that he’ll move us back to level two or level three, if we don’t stop running around maskless and generally acting like muppets. The steady climb in the number of infections — and deaths — is pointing us in that direction. The second wave of Covid-19 infections that’s already engulfing Europe and other parts of the world is starting to build up here. One doesn’t have to be a prophet to see a move a level or two backwards on the horizon — rather than a proclamation changing October’s name to Hawktober — if the current trajectory doesn’t change.

Like many South Africans, I’m wondering why Prophet Bushiri, or Major One to his followers, did not foresee the impending arrest of himself and Mrs Major One by the Hawks on corruption and fraud charges, if he is, indeed, a prophet and can see what is going to happen. 

After all, Timothy Omotoso, another alleged man of God who is currently before our courts, is a mere pastor, claiming no prophetic skills, but was able to see the Hawks coming and make a run for the airport, even if they did jam him up at the check-in counter and drag him off in handcuffs.

Think about it.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule doesn’t even claim to be a padre, let alone a prophet, yet Bra Yster was able to see the Hawks coming, when even his lawyers couldn’t. Magashule was able to see the Hawks warrant for his arrest, even before it was written. No waiting for the fleet of Golf 5s to turn into Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Street for Magashule. Ace, it appears, has seen a future in orange, rather than black, gold and green, for himself, long before Bushiri, National Prosecuting Authority head Shamila Batohi, or even Carl Niehaus.

That’s prophetic.

I called Ace last week, to ask him for the Lotto numbers and whether or not I should put R200 on Raheem Sterling opening the scoring — again — for City against the Gunners. Yster must still have my number blocked — it went straight into “the number you have called…” — so I gave up.

I’ve never called Major One for roulette numbers, or tips on the ponies. Turns out I saved myself a hiding as well as airtime. Here we have Bushiri, a whole self​-proclaimed prophet, Daddy, whatever, caught napping when the long arm of the law finally reached out and hauled his ass off to the holding cells, despite already having been nabbed once for allegedly scamming the punters, and getting bail.

That’s not much of a prophet, if you ask me.

Perhaps Major One is, in reality, more about profiting than prophetising. Profit rather than prophecy. Perhaps Bushiri doesn’t have the powers he and his followers claim he has and is just another con artist in a suit. Perhaps Major One’s prophetising powers failed, temporarily, like Eskom’s load-shedding, because of a fall-off in revenue due to his earlier arrest. 

Perhaps the devil’s technical unit blocked Bushiri’s prophecy signal, like jamming his cellphone signal, but different, until the Hawks got close enough to nab him.

Perhaps Bushiri and Ace should swop jobs. 


Ace takes over the prophetising business. Trades the London Fog for an Armani suit. Turns pro and hits the crystal ball full-time, while Major One moves to Luthuli House. The ANC is broke, we are told, despite two and a half decades of its cadres raiding the state till in the party’s name, so Bushiri’s fundraising skills will come in handy at ANC HQ, now that its cut of the asbestos and dairy farm money has dried up. 

Bushiri also appears to be a better organiser than Ace, making him an ideal replacement secretary general. The crowd outside his Pretoria bail hearing on Wednesday was bigger than any of those Ace has managed to put together for former president Jacob Zuma’s court appearances since he became party secretary in December 2017. 

The Bushiri faithful also well outnumbered the handful of alleged military veterans Ace pulled in Durban during his visit to the kingdom the other week, so Major One could be a major asset to the ANC if he does a swop with Yster.

If he makes bail, that is.

All of a sudden, I have a vision… it’s Ace and Major One, talking about swopping jobs, up close and personal, in the holding cells, or is it Medium B?




Didn’t see it coming: Pastor Shepherd Bushiri (right) and his wife, Mary Bushiri, failed to foretell their impending arrest on fraud and money-laundering charges. Photo: Emmanuel Croset/AFP


Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

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.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories

DA leader bought wife a car with ‘corruption’ earnings

Senior Ekurhuleni councillor Shabangu purchased a Ford SUV from an alleged R1.2-million kickback

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Masterclasses in duck-and-dive

You didn’t need to be a genius or a prophet to predict that Bushiri would run or that Zuma would stall

Editorial: Political meddling won’t save the SABC

For years, in moves that harked back to the repressive regime of the Nats, the public broadcaster has been used by the party as its political football in internal factional battles, or to censor dissent.

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

Motsoaledi blames ‘porous’ and ‘rotten’ borders for Bushiris’ escape

Home affairs minister admits South Africa has weak borders, and that the Bushiris had 10 passports between them

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

Covid-19 info lags as cases shoot up

Vital information apps and websites are outdated as cases begin to mushroom, especially near the coast, just in time for the December holidays

DA leader bought wife a car with ‘corruption’ earnings

Senior Ekurhuleni councillor Shabangu purchased a Ford SUV from an alleged R1.2-million kickback

SAA funds may need a top-up

Industry experts predict the R10.5-billion from the treasury to rescue the airline may not be enough, but the rescue practitioners say the money is enough to ‘settle the sins of the past’

Trump’s mantra of ‘fake news’ harmed media

Viewers and readers need to trust that news outlets are accurate, balanced, fair and impartial

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…