Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife made a very short court appearance in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, before the case was postponed to allow the State to carry out further investigations.
Bushiri and his wife, who remain in custody, will return to court on Wednesday.
A large group of Bushiri church congregants protested outside the court before the couple’s appearance.
Due to little space inside the court, only one media house managed to get inside.
Prophet Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering church briefed the media on events following a deadly stampede at the church on December 28, 2018.
The couple was arrested by the Hawks on Friday morning in Rustenburg on charges of fraud and money laundering.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said the case against the couple was linked to alleged offences of fraud and money laundering, as well as the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), which had been committed from 2015.
Read: Prophet Bushiri, wife arrested on charges of fraud, money laundering
The contravention of the Act was in relation to Exchange Control Regulations relating to foreign currency of $1 147 200 (around R15m).
In April last year, tabloid publication Sunday World reported that Bushiri was apparently making so much money from his churches in SA that he was able to send R15m a month back to his home in Malawi.
Mulaudzi confirmed to the tabloid at the time that the Hawks had been investigating the pastor, but cautioned that the case was in its early stages and that he could not divulge or confirm any details.
Read more: Prophet Bushiri details what happened on night of deadly stampede
The controversial prophet at that time told SABC News that he was not even aware that the police were investigating him and that he had only heard about the investigation through the media.
The CRL Commission exonerated Bushiri from responsibility for the stampede at his Pretoria church, where three people died, saying the church had fully complied with safety regulations.