Home South African Bail hearing continues for Gardee accused

Bail hearing continues for Gardee accused


Hillary Gardee went missing on April 29 and her lifeless body was discovered 40km outside Nelspruit on May 3. It was discovered that she had been kidnapped, raped and murdered.

The three men accused of murdering Hillary Gardee stand in the dock during their bail application at the Nelspruit Magistrate Court. From left, Mduduzi Gama, Philemon Lukhele and Sipho Mkhatshwa.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

EFF SUPPORTERS called for no bail, no soft life for Sipho Mkhatshwa who was cross-examined during his bail application on Thursday in connection with the gruesome murder of Hillary Gardee.

Mkhatshwa appeared at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga facing six charges including rape, kidnapping and murder. He faces these charges together with ANC associates Phelimon Lukhele and Mduduzi Nkala.

EFF leadership were present in court to support the Gardee family. Hillary Gardee went missing on April 29 and her lifeless body was discovered 40km outside Nelspruit on May 3. It was discovered that she had been kidnapped, raped and murdered.

She was the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, who is heartbroken. Those close to him say he is not dealing well and wants justice.

EFF leader Julius Malema in a recent press conference told the media that it was believed that Gardee was killed in a muti ritual after her body was found with a number of stab wounds and other marks.

Before Mkhatshwa took the stand to support his affidavit, Magistrate Andrew Horn informed him that the offences he faced were all schedule six offences.

“The onus is on you to convince the court, and that it is in the interests of justice that you be granted bail,“ Horn said.

Mkhatshwa, in giving reasons to be granted bail, said he was a permanent resident of South Africa and had five young children who depended on him, he stayed with his partner, and was not going to leave the country and would not evade trial or communicate with witnesses.

He took the stand stating that he did not know the victim and that he was not in Nelspruit when she went missing.

Mkhatshwa denied knowing or having grudges against Gardee’s relatives.

“I did not know the victim before this matter and I have never associated with her relatives or done any business with them,” said Mkhatshwa.

He admitted knowing accused number 2, Lukhele. He said he was his friend, however he said they last communicated the weekend after the Mpumalanga ANC provincial conference.

Mkhatshwa maintained that he did not speak with Lukhele during the time that Gardee was reported missing. He tried to clarify where he was during the time Gardee went missing, saying he was busy with lobola negotiations and was not in Nelspruit.

The State will take the stand on Friday. It claimed that Mkhatshwa’s phone was traced to near where Gardee was when she went missing.

Mkhatshwa told the court that he was tortured with a form of suffocation and electrocution, and was allegedly slapped by police who he said were under pressure to make arrests after Police Minister Bheki Cele called on the police to find Gardee’s killers.

NPA Mpumalanga spokesperson Monica Nyuswa told The Star that the matter would take place today.

“The matter is rolled over until Friday at 11am for continuation of bail hearing. The accused is still under cross-examination,” Nyuswa said.

The state intends to oppose bail.

EFF national spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said the EFF’s expectation on the bail is that the NPA must pull out all the stops and present a solid case to the court so that bail can be denied.

“This is against the backdrop of the high crime levels in South Africa, the brutality of the crime and also that we find that accused who are released on bail are repeat offenders, so we need them to be kept away from the public until their cases have been heard and settled by the court,” said Mathys.

Outside court some EFF supporters carried placards reading “Justice for Hillary Gardee”, “Women should never be abused”, and “No bail, no soft life”.

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