Hillary Gardee murder case postponed to next week

The case of slain Hillary Gardee was on Friday postponed to 16 September at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Mpumalanga, Sipho Mkhatshwa, Philemon Lukhele, Albert Gama and Hlabirwa Rasie Nkuna face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, kidnapping, possession of unlicensed firearm, possession of ammunition and defeating the ends of justice.

Friday was the first time the four suspects appeared together in the dock following the addition of Nkuna, who was arrested in August.

Hillary, the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, was found on 3 May near a timber plantation outside Mbombela, after she went missing at the Nelspruit Plaza on 29 April.

The 28-year-old was found with stab wounds, boot prints and a gunshot wound. Last week, her father Godrich penned a heartfelt tribute to the deceased 28-year-old.

In July, The Pretoria High Court ordered the South African Police Service (Saps) to prioritise the investigation into the murder of Hillary.

The ruling came after her family brought an urgent application in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to compel the police as well as Police Minister Bheki Cele to prioritise the investigation.

According to Sinawo Tambo, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the family’s spokesperson, the court also ordered that a multidisciplinary team comprising Saps officials, crime intelligence and Hawks officers be appointed to “investigate, inspect, search and collect evidence”.

There is a pending bail application for one of the accused and the NPA said it believed there is a strong case against the four suspects.

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