30 years in prison for the robbery-murder of a Flemish father in South Africa

The Supreme Court of the South African city of Mahikeng has sentenced the murderer of Flemish missionary Jef Hollanders (83) to thirty years in prison. Local media reported that. The 24-year-old perpetrator, Thabang Maseko, robbed the priest two years ago in his rectory. The loot consisted of no more than a cell phone and some change.

Hollanders lived in Bodibe, a town in the north of the country. In mid-January 2020, he may have been mugged in his home shortly after Sunday celebrations. A day later, the man was found dead by a colleague who had an appointment with the priest. Jef Hollanders was sitting in the seat with a rope around his neck and was tied by his hands and feet.

Three days later, police arrested three suspects who were linked to the crime based in part on phone searches. The main suspect Thabang Maseko was in possession of the cell phone of the Father, who was from Meeuwen (Oudsbergen) in Limburg.

Father Jef Hollanders, according to “Kerknet,” was a Flemish oblate who had been working as a missionary in South Africa for more than half a century. “How depraved do you have to be to attack an old defenseless man like Jeff,” responded Bishop Victor Phalana of Kerksdorp after the murder. “Everyone knows that he had no money, that he was serving a poverty-stricken community. Every penny he ever owned, he used for his people. He gave everything away!”

Honorary Citizen

The funeral of the Limburg missionary in the cathedral of South Africa’s Klerksdorp was attended by 3,000 residents. Jef Hollanders was honored as an honorary citizen by the municipality of Oudsbergen in February 2020.

Father Jef Hollanders was found murdered in his home two years ago.
Father Jef Hollanders was found murdered in his home two years ago.

Main suspect Thabang Maseko was sentenced to thirty years effective imprisonment. A second suspect, Mongezi Molefe, gets away with barely three years of effective imprisonment. He was arrested by police after he was found to be in possession of Hollanders’ bank card. A third suspect, who was a driver for his fellow perpetrators, goes free. The loot from the robbery consisted of no more than a cell phone and a little money.

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