Cabinet has welcomed the recent successful working visit to South Africa by members of the Malawian government led by President Lazarus Chakwera.

President Chakwera was on a working visit to South Africa last week.

Bilateral, regional and continental matters of mutual interest were discussed at the meeting between South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Chakwera.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said South Africa remains committed to deepening and strengthening relations with Malawi through expanded trade and investment with a goal of achieving decent livelihoods in both countries.

“The two countries have cordial relations dating back many decades,” he said.

According to the Presidency, the purpose of the visit was to strengthen and deepen relations between the two countries.

The two Presidents discussed matters of mutual interest bilaterally, regionally, continentally and globally.

Regionally, Malawi is the incoming Chairperson of Southern African Development Community (SADC), while South Africa is the incoming Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

South Africa’s exports to Malawi in 2019 were worth approximately R6 billion, while imports from Malawi were estimated to be worth approximately R1.3 billion.

Bushiri matter

Meanwhile, Cabinet was also briefed on the matter of married couple, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri, who fled to Malawi while out on bail of R200 000 each, following charges of fraud and money laundering.

Minister Lamola assured the public that government is doing everything for the fugitive couple to come back to face the music.

Currently, the National Prosecuting Authority, South African Police Service and Hawks are compiling the formal extradition request, he told the media.

However, Lamola said the process requires patience as it is a “meticulous” legal exercise.

“It may take some time, but from our view and perspective with all the information at our disposal, we’re convinced the Bushiris will come back to South Africa to stand trial,” he said on Thursday, adding that they will be guaranteed a fair trial.

“They will definitely come back and South Africa will do everything in its power to ensure they are returned to this country to face trial.”

Meanwhile, he said, authorities are still investigating how the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leaders skipped the country and would not be drawn to any speculations.

“We’ll leave it to the cluster investigation processes… The investigation is still ongoing and we understand the urgency of the matter in the face of the South African public because they’re a lot of speculations including on social media.”

Meanwhile, two more warrants of arrest for the second time against the pair have been issued.

Lamola said the cluster will update the public on the developments regarding this matter.

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