North West men await fate for allegedly robbing, killing Catholic priest

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(Photo by: Philippe Lissac/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
(Photo by: Philippe Lissac/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • Three men accused of the murder of a Catholic priest are expected to hear in January whether they will be found guilty or not.
  • Jacobus Hollanders was murdered in his home during an attack.
  • The three are accused of attacking Hollanders with the aim to rob him of his belongings.

A year after a North West Catholic priest was robbed and killed, three men are expected to find out whether they will be convicted of the crimes or not.

It is alleged that on 13 January 2020, the accused, Thabanga Maseko, 24, Mongezi Molefe, 27, and Nicholus Tlhapi, 26, attacked Jacobus Hollanders, 83, with the aim of robbing him at his Bodibe village home. 

They allegedly overpowered Hollanders and tied his hands and legs, later assaulting and strangling him to death. 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the accused allegedly robbed Hollanders of his valuables and took them to a house where they were ultimately recovered by the police. 

READ | Gauteng man, 25, charged with murder of two-month-old sister

"They were subsequently arrested in January 2020. The first State witness testified that Maseko approached him and five others to plan a robbery at the church as he saw the priest with a lot of cash," Mamothame added.

He said Maseko was often seen with Hollanders and was familiar with his living conditions as he often assisted him with chores at the church. 

On Thursday, they appeared in the North West High Court, where the case was postponed to 13 and 14 January 2022 for judgment. 

The State and defence have concluded their closing arguments. 

"In arguing for a conviction, [prosecutor] advocate Benny Kalakgosi argued that the case was solely based on circumstantial evidence and requested the court to draw only one inference that the accused are the people that killed the Roman Catholic priest," said Mamothame.

The accused will remain in police custody until their next court appearance.

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