By Linda Bordoni
Authorities in South Africa have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the presumed murder of a Belgian priest, found dead inside his home.
83-year-old Oblate Father Joseph Hollander was found dead in his house in the village of Bodibe, some 200 kilometers west of Johannesburg.
The Flemish priest’s body was reportedly found tied up, but with no signs of visible violence on 12 January.
Authorities suspect Hollanders was the victim of a break-in and robbery which took place shortly after he returned home from Sunday Mass.
Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp described him as a man “with a big heart, who lived for his community.”
“Everyone knows he had no money. He served a poor community. He used every penny he ever owned for his people. He gave away everything he had. He spoke Afrikaans fluently and Tswana, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa and Botswana. He liked to create new parishes or parish stations,” he said.
Local media reported that the arrested man was found in possession of Joseph Hollanders’ phone and will be facing murder charges when he appears before a court on Friday.
Father Hollanders’ funeral will take place on Wednesday 22 January in a Klerksdorp Cathedral where he will be laid to rest.