Monday, 09 May 2022 11:32

Hillary Gardee murder suspects abandon bail applications.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The three suspects arrested in connection with Hillary Gardee's murder appeared in the Mbombela Magistrate's Court today.

Sipho Lawrence Mkatshwa, Philemon Lukhele and Mduzuzi Gama are charged with murder, rape, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and possession of illegal firearms.

It has come to light that one of the individuals arrested in connection to the murder of Gardee works in the Office of the Chief Whip in Mpumalanga.

"The Office of the Chief Whip in Mpumalanga province notes with serious concern the arrest of an employee in this office who turns out to be a suspect in the gruesome killing of Ms Hillary Gardee. This Office stands for the protection of women, young girls and boys and condemns in the strongest terms any acts of violence perpetrated against the vulnerable especially women and children and any acts of GBV+F" said a statement from the office.

"The senseless killing of Hillary, the young lady with such a bright future ahead of her, has once again shown the level of cruelty perpetuated against women. We want to take this opportunity to appreciate the unity and ability shown by the people of Mpumalanga and South Africa to put aside all their political differences and confront this pandemic of GBV+F" said the office.

The State requested that the accused be denied bail because of the seriousness of the crime.

All three abandoned their bail application.

They requested they be given medical attention, saying they were allegedly tortured while in custody.

The matter was postponed until June 9.

Before the proceedings began, EFF member and family members spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said the family did not want the accused to get bail because they could be a flight risk.

A large contingent of EFF members was outside court in support of the Gardee family.

The three men were arrested over the weekend, with the first being apprehended on the eve of Gardee's funeral.

The possibility of there being further arrests has not been ruled out by police as the investigation continues.

Gardee, 28 was buried on Saturday, May 7.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and EFF leader Julius Malema were among the dignitaries in attendance to pay their last respects.

Gardee was reported missing on Friday, April 29. She was reportedly last seen leaving a shopping complex in Nelspruit at approximately 5.30pm.

The motive for her killing is unknown.

Speculation is rife that Gardee's murder was the work of a syndicate but police spokesperson Donald Mdhluli said they can't confirm as much at this stage.