Attorney-cum-politician Godrich Gardee has claimed that the police ignored video evidence revealing car registration numbers of his daughter Hillary Gardee’s killers when they were going to an ATM to withdraw money from her bank account.
On Monday, Gardee tweeted: “I have watched the video of the thugs getting out of the car to the ATM to withdraw the money of #HillaryGardee. @SAPoliceService was given the car registration number. They have not arrested anyone … If I am assassinated, @SAPoliceService must answer!”
On June 23, he tweeted that he was going to expose the “shenanigans and gross incompetence” of the police if they did not act on the valuable information he had given them approximately 20 days earlier.
Gardee’s family spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said that the tweet referred to the lack of arrest of other suspected individuals involved in Hillary’s abduction.
The 28-year-old’s body was found in a timber plantation near the tourist town of Sabie a few days after she was reported missing on April 29.
She had a bullet wound in the back of her head. On the day she went missing, she was last seen at Spar at the Plaza Shopping Centre in Mbombela with her adopted three-year-old daughter.
The little girl was found stranded in KaMagugu, where they stayed.
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“The tweet refers to the lack of arrest of what is suspected to be other individuals involved in the abduction of Hillary. Comrade Gardee has been working with the police and has given them verifiable and credible evidence to assist in the arrest of further suspects and frustratingly, the police have not acted on this.
“Understandably, this has caused much pain to the family who seeks justice and we hope that their pleas for a speedy resolution of this case, with efficiency, can be heeded by SAPS,” Thambo added.
Police have so far arrested Philemon Lukhele (47), Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa (39) and Albert “Khabzela” Gama (52) on six charges, including kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, murder, rape, possession of an unlicensed firearm and defeating the ends of justice. The motive for Hillary’s murder is still unknown.
Lukhele is an Eswatini national in exile in the country because of his activism at the pro-democracy People’s United Democratic Movement.
He is a former SRC president at Wits and was recently a researcher in the Mpumalanga ANC chief whip’s office where he was fired following his arrest.
Mkhatshwa is the adopted son of retired politician Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa’s sister. Gama was a security guard at Lukhele’s University students’ accommodation.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said that police were working on the case and denied that there might be a cover-up since the information had not been acted on. Mohlala said:
There are, however, processes that need to be followed, which require some time. Something is being done. We would request to be given some time to work on this matter so that we would be able to produce quality results.”