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The High Court in Pretoria on Monday heard how a pioneering Catholic priest died after he was shot during a robbery at his presbytery in Diepsloot two years ago.
Four young Diepsloot men, Kgaugelo Manzini, Thembalethu Sindane, Freddy Mahlangu and Jabu Ndebele, pleaded not guilty to the December 7, 2009 murder of 70-year-old Father Louis Blondel.
They also denied robbing Blondel and fellow priest Father Guido Bourgeois of a computer, cellphone, watch and R50, and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
A fifth accused, 20-year-old Nelson Malope, was in September last year sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charges.
Samuel Thobane, who lived at the presbytery in 2009, testified he had been asleep when the sound of a gunshot woke him in the early hours of December 7. He heard people talking outside and saw three men running away. He heard Bourgeois screaming in the kitchen and was on his way to help him when he saw blood on the floor in the corridor. He went to Blondel's room and found him in a pool of blood at the door of his room.
Bourgeois had meanwhile pushed a fridge in front of the kitchen door and only opened the door when Thobane assured him the attackers had run away.
A Diepsloot housewife, Yoliswa Yeyani, testified she was doing her washing on the afternoon of December 07 when Sindane arrived and offered her a cellphone for R100. She paid Sindane R60 for it. She pointed out the man to whom she had given the cellphone to police a few days later.
Sindane's lawyer said he would admit selling the phone to Yeyani, but would testify the phone belonged to his friends and that he had been promised R10 if he could find a buyer for it.
Blondel, who was born in France, moved to South Africa in 1987 after spending his early years as a missionary in Tanzania. At one stage he lived in Soweto and taught philosophy at St Peter's seminary in Hammanskraal. He also did pioneering work in the Orange Farm area before he moved to Diepsloot in 2008, where he built a church and a community house.
He was a member of Missionaries of Africa, a society of Catholic missionaries dedicated to serving Africans. - Sapa
This is so sad,crime in SA is so high,the messengers of God,priests,chidren,not to mention women are killed like flies.What type of a society or nation kills such defenceless people,just think this poor Catholic priest managed to live so long,traversing the world maybe,stayed safely in Tanzania only to end up dying so violently in SA at 70.People in the outside world ask all the time about the murder of human beings in SA, and it is impossible to deny it yet politicians deny it.According to them crime is far from crisis levels,they tell you of statistics,that is what you end down to them,a mere number,but you are someones father,brother,husband or wife or child to them you are a statistic.This year they were happy because less people where killed in cold blood. I am tired to be told by people who have body guards paid by my tax,saying that the Death Penalty is not a detterant whilst enjoying maximum protection for himself and his his family whilst we are sick worried about our safety and that of our loved ones.The notion that the death penalty will not deter crimininals is a lie because in countries like Saudi there is literally no crime or murder,so low are the levels because they chop off your head,an eye for an eye,we say this because we live safely here,we see it.This politicians just want to shine that the have the most advanced Constitution,but it does not help if it kills you and doesn`t protect you agaibst murderers.S o we should just sit by and die because there is no other better plan than Death Penalty or throwing them in the ocean at least if he dies you didn`t kill him.
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