SA may get first Catholic saint
Johannesburg - The Catholic Church will soon consider whether a South African man killed over 20 years ago should be proclaimed blessed - the first step towards sainthood - according to a Sunday Times report.
The man would be the first saint to be recognised from South Africa, the weekly asserted.
Bendict Daswa, a businessman and devout Roman Catholic from rural Limpopo, was murdered in February 1990, aged 46, after rejecting claims of the existence of witchcraft in his village, Mbahe, near Thoyohandou.
A group of villagers beat him with sticks and rocks and poured boiling water over him. He had refused to participate in hiring a witchdoctor to help find those responsible for a series of lightning strikes in the area.
Joao Rodrigues, bishop of Tzaneen, said the diocese had thoroughly investigated Daswa's life and death and had sent a report to the Vatican.
"We believe he was killed in hatred of the faith which he professed privately and publicly," Rodrigues told the paper.
His diocese is now in the process of putting together a more detailed document, known as a positio. This would include a biography, testimonies, and documents such as Daswa's birth certificate.
The pope would make the final decision on Daswa's case.
Daswa was described in the report as a man of prayer who had dedicated his life to the church.