Eswatini denies 'wild and empty allegations' that King Mswati orchestrated Hillary Gardee's murder

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Hillary Gardee with her father Godrich Gardee, EFF's former secretary-general.
Hillary Gardee with her father Godrich Gardee, EFF's former secretary-general.
PHOTO: Twitter/@Julius_S_Malema
  • The Eswatini government has hit back at allegations made by former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee against King Mswati III.
  • Gardee claims that Eswatini's ruler was involved in orchestrating the murder of his daughter, Hillary.
  • According to Gardee, the king retaliated after being upset by an EFF blockade staged at the border post.

The Eswatini government has slammed allegations by former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee that King Mswati III is responsible for the death of his daughter, Hillary.

On Monday, Gardee, an attorney, alleged on Twitter that Mswati was involved in the murder in retaliation for the EFF's blockade at border posts on 12 April.

The blockade at the Ngwenya and Golela border posts, which lasted six hours, was held in solidarity with the Eswatini wing of the EFF as part of the party's call for democracy and human rights in the country.

He said it was no coincidence that Hillary was kidnapped 17 days after the protest and that a member of the People's United Democratic Movement was arrested and linked to the murder.

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Eswatini government spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo described Gardee's tweets as "wild and empty allegations", adding that the government would not be drawn into the "mess" that had happened.

Nxumalo said the EFF's blockade had not been the first time that Eswatini's border posts were closed by a political party, adding that a small demonstration at the border by the EFF did not warrant a government response.

"I don't know how he can stoop so low as to use such a tragic situation of the demise of his daughter, and make empty political claims (sic)," Nxumalo added.

"As the government of the kingdom, our position is that Gardee must allow the justice system of his own country to take place.

"The kingdom of Eswatini has absolutely no history of assassinating people for toyi-toying at the border, let alone for their political reasons."

When News24 asked about one of the alleged perpetrators in Hillary's murder being an exiled Eswatini politician reportedly linked to the government, Nxumalo said: 

Those are members of this comrades (sic). He was there at the borders on the day they were toyi-toying. How could it be that he is now working with our government?

Gardee said he believed the EFF protest prompted the king to send a foreign intelligence service to make the murder look like a robbery.

On Friday, News24 reported that the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria had ordered that the investigation into Hillary's murder be handed over to the Hawks and be handled as a matter of urgency.

This came after the Gardee family said the police were not prioritising the case, due to a lack of interest and media attention.

In his tweet, Gardee said:

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, denied that the police were being influenced in their investigation.

"We have no pressure from anyone not to investigate or pressure to investigate someone. The case relating to the murder of Hillary Gardee is currently on the court roll, and we [do not want] to comment on it," Mohlala said.

When News24 contacted Gardee on the allegations he had made against the king of Eswatini, he refused to comment, but stood firm on the claims he made on Twitter.

"My Twitter account is a verified account. I have tweeted what I have tweeted, and I won't say anything. My account was not hacked."

The Eswatini embassy in South Africa did not respond to questions, and its comment will be added once received.

Hillary Gardee was reported missing on 29 April, after she was last seen at a shopping centre in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, with her three-year-old daughter. The girl was later found abandoned in Kamagugu, where they both lived.

Police later found Hillary's body in a timber plantation near Sabie. At the time, police said she had a wound to the head, bruises to her body, and that there were blood stains at the scene.

Three men – Philemon Lukhele, 47; Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa, 39; and Albert Mduduzi Gama, 52 – were arrested on charges of murder, rape, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, as well as conspiracy to commit murder.

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