The rise of charismatic churches in SA

JOHANNESBURG - Charismatic churches led by larger-than-life pastors are gaining more attention, particularly with these individuals being caught in suspected harmful activities.

The latest pastor to run into legal trouble is Shepherd Bushiri, who has been accused of fraud and money laundering.

This news did not deter his supporters from protesting in large numbers outside court this week.

Thousands flocked to Bushiri's Enlightened Christian Gathering Church in Pretoria.

Psychologist Saths Cooper said a lot of people taken in by these kinds of churches are looking for solace during uncertain economic and political times.

READ: Bushiri recruits Barry Roux in fraud court case

Cooper said congregants may want to feel part of a charismatic leader's success.

Speaking about Bushiri, Cooper said, "he does not have a conscience. He is seemingly a narcissist, he wants adulation, he wants massive admiration and has that need to have people fawning over him.

"But the moment he has to take responsibility for that relationship, for that admiration, if it goes wrong like in this instance he distances himself because this kind of person is anti-social.

"They're very sociable, they're very personable but at the same time cannot accept that responsibility that society requires of us."

Cooper called for leadership at all levels of society to become role models and hold crooked individuals accountable.