University cuts ties with Gardee’s alleged murderer

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Philemon Lukhele, in a black jacket, was arrested together with Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa and Albert Mduduzi Gama for Hillary Gardee's murder. Lukhele works in the office of the Mpumalanga ANC Chief Whip. Photo: Ntwaagae Seleka/  News24
Philemon Lukhele, in a black jacket, was arrested together with Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa and Albert Mduduzi Gama for Hillary Gardee's murder. Lukhele works in the office of the Mpumalanga ANC Chief Whip. Photo: Ntwaagae Seleka/ News24

NEWS


The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) has cancelled contracts it had with Philemon Lukhele (47), one of the three men suspected of murdering Hillary Gardee, the daughter of attorney and EFF politician Godrich Gardee.

Lukhele hired out three accredited private student residences to UMP.

City Press has seen a cancellation letter that UMP dean of students Paul Maminza wrote to Lukhele with regards to the Insika Guest House facilities in Mbombela.

READ: Hillary Gardee’s alleged killers abandon bail application

“The university has learnt, with serious concern, the allegations against the landlord/owner of Insika Guest House student accommodation facilities following the arrest and appearance of Philemon Lukhele in court on serious charges that include rape and murder,” he wrote.

“The university takes these developments very seriously and has, in keeping with its value of integrity and for the safety and wellbeing of our students, no other option but to cancel the accreditation of the three Insika Guest House facilities with immediate effect. All UMP students staying in these facilities have been informed of the cancellation of the accreditation of these facilities so that they will have to relocate to other accredited accommodation facilities.”

Lukhele and his co-accused – Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa (39) and Albert Gama (52) – appeared briefly in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on Monday. They have not pleaded to their charges and abandoned applying for bail. They are due to appear in court again on June 9, pending further police investigations.

The three men face six charges – kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, murder, rape, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and defeating the ends of justice. Their motive for allegedly killing Gardee is still unknown.

Lukhele is a research senior manager in Mpumalanga ANC chief whip Fidel Mlombo’s office. He is an exile from Eswatini and is a member of the pro-democracy People’s United Democratic Movement. He studied at the University of the Witswatersrand and was an SRC president.

Mkhatshwa is the adopted son of former Tshwane metro mayor Smangaliso Mkhatshwa. The family released a statement indicating that Sipho has a history of violence and that they had applied for a protection order against him. He was due to get married last weekend when he was arrested in Schoemansdal.

READ: Gardee murder suspects are top figures

Gardee was reported missing on April 29. She and her adopted three-year-old daughter were last seen at Spar at the Nelspruit Plaza in Mbombela, where they were shopping.

Gardee’s body was found in a timber plantation near the tourist town of Sabie on Tuesday last week.

Last night, her father offered a reward to anyone who could shed light to the police about how his daughter was kidnapped and murdered.

He wrote on social media: 

Please DM [direct message] me with any information about shops she visited that day and what car she last went into when she left Spar. Please help me bring closure to myself and family. Someone saw it all. If your information is helpful to the police, our family will reward you handsomely. We need this information.



facebook
twitter
linkedin
instagram

Sizwe sama Yende 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
sizwe.yende@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
A new report by the Electoral Integrity Project, which looks at the quality of electoral integrity worldwide, has identified South Africa as having the second-highest level of integrity in its elections in Africa. Do you agree with the report?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No
45% - 69 votes
Yes
28% - 42 votes
We should be first
27% - 41 votes
Vote