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'Hillary’s passing has proven we are able to band together in times of tragedy'

Gardee family encouraged by public solidarity

A group of women clad in black clothing, some in red and others in black doeks, gathered at the Gardee home in Mbombela as they carried candles in honour of slain Hillary Gardee.
A group of women clad in black clothing, some in red and others in black doeks, gathered at the Gardee home in Mbombela as they carried candles in honour of slain Hillary Gardee.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba

The Nelspruit magistrate’s court is expected to be packed today as three suspects arrested for the abduction and murder of Hillary Gardee appear in court.

SA will get to see the men accused of the horrific murder that sent shockwaves throughout the country last week. Hillary was the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee. EEF leader Julius Malema said his party members would be at the court to encourage the state to reject bail for the suspects.

Among the suspects are an Eswatini-born civil servant-cum-politician and the adopted son of an prominent politician. The two, who are aged 43 and 52, were nabbed in Mbombela on Saturday, police said. The first suspect was arrest in Schoemansdal, a rural settlement south of Malalane. 

“We can confirm that we have arrested three suspects on the murder case surrounding the death of Hillary Gardee. The first suspect was arrested on Friday at Schoemansdal in Nkomazi while the other two were arrested in Mbombela. All the suspects are charged with the murder of Hillary Gardee and are expecting to add other charges. They are going to appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Monday,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Col Donald Mdhluli yesterday. 

According to deputy minister of basic education Reginah Mhaule, Hillary was stabbed in her breasts and forehead and also also tortured by her killers. She also had a boot print on her back.

The 28-year-old IT graduate was found murdered on Tuesday last week, four days after she disappeared. Her body was found in a field outside Mbombela.

“Like her father said during the funeral, Hillary was a fighter because she was tortured for a long time before she was killed. When she was found on Tuesday you could tell she died fighting,” said Mhaule.

Hillary’s family said yesterday they will allow the legal system to conduct its work as Hillary, the family and the people of SA will not know peace until justice is served.

“We hope this matter will be resolved speedily, without unnecessary postponements and prolonged deliberations to show perpetrators of gender-based violence that our judicial system is harsh and firm on this type of crime,” the family said in a statement.

They said their grief had been eased by the outpouring of love from people and also thanked the police for their speedy tracing of their daughter’s killers.

“We extend our gratitude to the SA Police Service and the entire investigative team for their patience, commitment and diligence, even when confronted by our grief, anger and frustration. Their speedy response to resolving this matter and finding the perpetrators is one which we wish they will emulate in all other criminal matters.”


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