Reverend in court with 'combative guardian angel' by his side

2017-04-11 12:21
The Reverend Jannie Bezuidenhout (Alzane Narrain, Netwerk24)

The Reverend Jannie Bezuidenhout (Alzane Narrain, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - Reverend Jannie Bezuidenhout of the NG Church in Africa had a very combative "guardian angel" when he appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday, charged with stealing about R1.7m from the church. 

"I’ll slap you," the finger-wagging man told Netwerk24 before he and Bezuidenhout left with another group of men. 

Even in court, the man had demanded to know from Netwerk24 why they were writing about Bezuidenhout only and not the other accused who were appearing in the same court. 

The case against Bezuidenhout, 41, of Leslie Street in Bainsvlei, outside Bloemfontein, was postponed until June, when he is expected to plead.   

Theft charges

Bezuidenhout was the church’s financial officer in Bloemfontein and was responsible for expenditure and bookkeeping. 

He is facing 700 charges of theft. He allegedly transferred cash from the church’s bank account to his own between February 2010 and October 2015. The largest single amount was allegedly almost R300 000.

Last week, a summary judgment for almost R900 000 was granted against him by the Free State High Court. He was ordered to pay the church’s legal costs.

According to court papers, Bezuidenhout undertook to repay the amount at R100 000 a month. However, nothing came of it.

His pension of R551 187 was paid out to the church. The church also deducted R600 000 of the money owing to it, which Bezuidenhout claimed he lent to the church anonymously. 

Bezuidenhout made, in writing, an "admission of guilt" to the church. He was not sure how much money he took, but estimated it was not less than R1.4m.

"I regret my actions and want to accept responsibility for the losses and damages."

Bezuidenhout had since been fired.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime

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