In an interview with ACI Africa June 15, the Chaplain of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the Durban Archdiocese said Fr. Motloung “went missing on Pentecost Sunday after attending a Minister's Fraternity at the Lutheran Church in eDukuza.”
Fr. David Sithole added in reference to the missing Catholic Priest, “He was the first to leave that night after dinner.”
In a July 1 update shared ACI Africa, Fr. Sithole expressed concern about “circulating rumours and media reports” speculating that Fr. Motloung’s body had been found.
“Until such time that the work of the task team is concluded, any informal or unofficial information which is not released by the Archbishop, the Vicar General or the Police Chaplain must be regarded as falsehood and misleading to the public, the affected parish of Bergville and the family.” Fr. Sithole said.
The South African Priest told ACI Africa about a thorough search operation on June 29.
He said that SAPS officials from Ladysmith, Newcastle, Bergville, Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, and Upper Tugela along with Okhahlamba Fire, Search and Rescue team conducted a search operation along the “Banana Bridge”, which crosses Woodstock Dam.
In his July 1 statement, Archbishop Jwara asks for continued prayers for Fr. Motloung.
“Let us continue praying for the safety of Fr. Bheki," the Local Ordinary of Durban Archdiocese says, and adds, “The Police are working very hard searching for him but unfortunately, they have not made any breakthrough yet.”
On June 21, the Archbishop of Durban asked the people of God under his pastoral care to seek the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint for the recovery of lost items, to find Fr. Motloung.
Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.
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