Hillary Gardee case: Lawyer wants police commissioner, spokesperson to testify on alleged confession

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Philemon Lukhele, in the brown jacket and yellow t-shirt 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.
Philemon Lukhele, in the brown jacket and yellow t-shirt 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.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • The Mpumalanga police boss and her spokesperson could be subpoenaed to testify in court.
  • A defence lawyer in the Hillary Gardee murder trial wants them to clarify their claims that someone confessed to the murder.
  • It is the lawyer's belief that the so-called confession exonerates his clients.

The Mpumalanga police commissioner and a police spokesperson could be called to testify in the trial into the murder of Hillary Gardee about media statements that mention a confession.

Nqobizitha Mlilo, the advocate representing two of the accused, believes that his clients, Albert Gama and Philemon Lukhele, could be exonerated by the so-called confession that Rassie Hlabirwa Nkuna, 36, allegedly made.

According to Mlilo, the so-called confession was not in the police docket.

He lodged an application in the Mbombela Magistrate's Court on Thursday to subpoena the commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela, and spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, to testify.

"If Manamela and Mohlala say that Nkuna's statement doesn't exist, it will be the end of the matter. If they say the statement exists, we want that statement. The statement derives from utterances from the police," Mlilo said.

"It is the police who said the suspect has confessed. If the statement is true, we should discuss the withdrawal of charges, not a bail application," Mlilo added.

Mlilo said Nkuna was arrested last week but hadn't appeared in court for the case.

READ | Hillary Gardee murder: Fifth suspect linked to the case released without appearing in court

"Something is wrong. We are entitled to that statement that exonerates our clients. We want Nkuna's statement. We are entitled to have that statement. We don't understand why Nkuna hasn't appeared in court.

"Something is rotten somewhere. We ask the court to order that we be entitled to that statement. We are doing this to assist our clients with a fair trial," he added.

Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni said Mlilo was within his rights to subpoena witnesses.

"As far as the NPA is concerned, we do not know that statement. It appears that Mlilo is aware of the contents of that statement. I don't know the contents of that statement."

Mpolweni replied:

If that statement doesn't mention the accused's names, they won't be entitled to that statement. He is right to say that no other person has been charged. I don't know that statement. I don't want to speculate.

Mohlala told News24 that the police would not comment on the development until they received the subpoena. 

Nkuna's arrest  

Nkuna is facing three counts of murder in two separate courts.

He is accused of killing sisters, Marcia and Pretty Mazibuko, on 15 May in Kanyamazane. 

He is also expected to appear in the Delmas Magistrate's Court on 22 August for allegedly murdering Nonkululeko Nkosi.

Mohlala earlier reported that when Nkuna was arrested for the three murders, he confessed to killing Gardee.

READ | High Court orders Hillary Gardee murder probe to be prioritised by cops, says family

He is expected to appear in the Mbombela Magistrate's Court on 23 August for the Gardee murder.

Meanwhile, Gama, Lukhele and Sipho Mkhatshwa are accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering Gardee.

Mkhatshwa has since been denied bail.

Lukhele and Gama's case continues on 2 September.

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