Home South African Sombre send-off set for slain Hillary Gardee as probe goes on

Sombre send-off set for slain Hillary Gardee as probe goes on

Hillary Gardee. Picture: Supplied

SLAIN Hillary Gardee will be laid to rest on Saturday in Kwamagugu township, Mbombela, Mpumalanga.

Gardee, 28, was abducted on April 29 and her lifeless body, which had a bullet wound on her upper body, was found abandoned in a field in Mbombela on Monday.

The death of Gardee has sent shock waves across the country and the continent.

She is the daughter of EFF’s former secretary-general Godrich Gardee.

On Wednesday an autopsy revealed that Gardee had a wound on her upper body which left the family and EFF angry and questioned how police missed it when they combed the crime scene.

On Thursday, EFF national spokesperson, Sinawo Thambo, said Gardee’s funeral will be attended not only by South Africans, but the continent because her father, Godrich, is a former uMkhonto We Sizwe operative. He was in exile and he has got links all over the continent.

“We want to finalise the funeral of Gardee with dignity. She was a kind, generous and loving soul, her burial must be with dignity,” said Thambo.

He said the discovery of the bullet was long overdue, but that it no longer adds substance to the conversation.

“This dented our faith in the police system; that they can miss such a critical thing in the crime scene. That crime scene no longer adds value, because they missed a crucial part of it.

“We will be waiting for updates from the SAPS. Hopefully they can redeem themselves in finding the killers so that the family can find closure as to why this happened to their daughter.”

Thambo further said: “Police must do their job, that is what we expect from them. We get updates from the police. We do not have any conclusive evidence to add on speculations whether the killers are known to the family or not.”

Early in the week, the police in Mpumalanga preliminary reported that Gardee was discovered murdered with bruises on her body.

“However after further investigation by our forensic team, it was revealed that she was shot in her upper body. The police then conveyed such a message to the family, which does not prohibit them to communicate how their child was murdered to other family members and friends,” said Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli.

He said a team comprising different disciplines within the police, had been assembled by the provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, to investigate the matter.

“The investigation on the circumstances of how the victim was murdered is under way with a view to arrest whosoever is involved. The police are at no stage going to reveal the stages of the investigation to the public but to the relevant family,” Mdluli said.

He said police request space to investigate this gruesome murder without any disturbances.

Police said anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the murder of the victim, should contact the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111.

Thambo urged citizens to respect the funeral proceedings and not to flood the funeral and said people can watch virtually.

On Thursday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, visited the Gardee family to pay his respect to them.

While doing a political overview on the ministry’s annual performance plans for the 2022/23 financial year, Lamola commended the committee for the manner in which it processed the three GBV bills which have since been assented to by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Once again with your assistance, we are building the machinery to combat and address yet another pervasive and almost invisible pandemic in the form of gender-based violence,” said Lamola.

He said the three GBV Acts, namely: the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, 2021; the Domestic Violence Amendment Act, 2021; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2021 cannot be “ornaments which have no impact in our communities”.

“In this financial year, we will be implementing these acts across the board.”

Lamola said would this month launch a programme of action as a ministry which will ensure that judicial services are at the heart of our communities.

Lamola said Carolina in Mpumalanga and Delft in the Western Cape have been identified as communities where they will start with this programme during the month of May.

This will be to assess the state of the justice services, improve the level of integration in the justice system and assess the gender-based violence infrastructure with a specific focus on the new acts and the national strategic plan on gender-based violence and femicide.

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