Hillary Gardee murder: 'We are not under political pressure to prosecute' - NPA

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Mpumalanga Director of Public Prosecutions, Nkebe Kanyane.
Mpumalanga Director of Public Prosecutions, Nkebe Kanyane.
  • The NPA promised to prosecute the Hillary Gardee murder case without hindrance.
  • Mpumalanga's DPP, Nkebe Kanyane, said they are not influenced by the EFF.
  • Three men are in court for allegedly killing Hillary in April.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is not under any political pressure to prosecute the Hillary Gardee murder case, said Mpumalanga's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), advocate Nkebe Kanyane, on Thursday.

Kanyane, briefing the media on several matters in her office, assured the public the NPA would prosecute the matter without any outside influence.

"We are not under any political pressure," Kanyane said.

READ | Hillary Gardee murder: Exasperated family heads to court to have case transferred to Hawks

She described advocate Ntsika Mpolweni, who is handling the matter, as a seasoned prosecutor.

"We will prosecute the matter with vigour. We have put our best foot forward in prosecuting the case. In the end, the court will evaluate the case (and come to a decision).

"We finalised the bail application by Sipho Mkhatshwa last week. The Nelspruit Magistrate's Court denied him bail. We are busy with the bail application brought by Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama," said Kanyane.

The State is opposing bail against Lukhele and Gama.

Philemon Lukhele, in a black jacket, was arrested
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.
News24 Ntwaagae Seleka

Mkhatshwa, 39, Lukhele, 47, and Gama, 52, are facing charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice, and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Kanyane said:

It is the presiding officer who will bring a verdict. We have deployed a senior prosecutor to deal with the matter. We want to deal with this scourge of [gender-based violence]. The presence of the EFF doesn't influence how we do our work.

The EFF and Gardee's father, Godrich, have voiced their thoughts on the matter, calling for swift action.

Godrich is the party's former secretary-general. He recently claimed Eswatini monarch King Mswati III was behind his daughter's murder.

Godrich seemed to suggest it was due to his outspoken criticism of the royal house. However, he didn't indicate he had any evidence to support this.

READ | EFF, Godrich Gardee claim police need to arrest more suspects in his daughter's murder case

The Eswatini government has rubbished the allegations.

When asked about the claims, Kanyane said the police were best-placed to respond to the allegations.

"We only prosecute matters. Now, we have three accused persons who are charged. The police haven't made an additional arrest on the matter," Kanyane said.

Godrich said it was no coincidence that Lukhele, a former member of the People's United Democratic Movement, was arrested and linked to his daughter's murder.

Lukhele also worked in the office of the Mpumalanga ANC chief whip.

The ANC later revoked his membership, claiming he had fraudulently obtained it.

Hillary was last seen on 29 April at the Nelspruit Plaza at around 17:30.

Her body was discovered a week later in a timber plantation about 40km outside Mbombela. She had a bullet wound to the head.

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