'Killed by the silence of your country': Emotional Gardee pays tribute to murdered daughter Hillary

EFF leader Julius Malema, his wife Mantoa Matlala and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu at the funeral service of Hillary Gardee.
EFF leader Julius Malema, his wife Mantoa Matlala and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu at the funeral service of Hillary Gardee.
  • Former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee says his daughter, Hillary, was killed by the silence of the country on the "new crime" of kidnapping for monetary gain.
  • At her funeral on Saturday, he said he would set up a foundation in his daughter's name.
  • A 39-year-old man is expected to make his first appearance in court in connection with the murder.

Former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee said on Saturday that he believed his murdered daughter, Hillary, had been failed by the silence of the country on kidnappings.

He was speaking at her funeral, which was livestreamed on Saturday morning.

News24 previously reported the family as saying that Hillary had been shot execution-style and had done a R1 300 cash send transaction to herself around the time of her disappearance.

"More than 100 people [in the area] have been kidnapped and released or left to release themselves. Their silence and the silence of their close friends killed you," Godrich Gardee said.

He accused people of failing to report abductions for the purpose of taking money from the accounts of those held captive.

READ | Man arrested in connection with murder of Hillary Gardee

He also believed his daughter had been let down by the police's failure to investigate dockets of kidnappings in the area.

"You have been killed by the silence of this country of this new crime," he said.

Hillary went missing on Friday, 29 April after she was last seen at Nelspruit Plaza Superspar in the Mbombela central business district in Mpumalanga at around 17:30.

Her body was discovered on Tuesday in a timber plantation, approximately 40km outside Mbombela.

Gardee said children were meant to bury their parents, not the other way around.

"From the moment you were born, you were named after great women leaders of the world, for in you we saw a bright future. Little did we know you'd die a tragic death," he said.

"A death characterised by bruise prints on your chest, a blunt object struck to your head, stab wounds to your breasts and back, a gunshot at the back of your head, and a bleeding nose."

ALSO READ | 'Our country is f***ed up': Fear, anger at night vigil for Hillary Gardee as man arrested for murder

He said it never occurred to him and the family that they'd have to identify Hillary's body in a bush, lying face down with her hands clutching the grass.

"Distance of crawling to the road and the grass where we found you tell us a story of a fighter we never knew," he added.

Gardee promised to carry out his daughter's instructions to collect her Advanced Diploma in Information Technology from the University of South Africa.

In honour of his daughter's life, Gardee said he would "set up a Hillary Gardee Foundation as a legacy project".

On Friday, Mpumalanga police said they had arrested a 39-year-old man in Schoemansdal, Nkomazi, in connection with her murder.

He is due to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Monday.

EFF and family spokesperson Sinawo Tambo told News24 he could not say whether Hillary or the family knew the man.

"[This is due to the fact that] we do not know who the suspect is. The police have advised that they cannot disclose the suspect's identity until he appears in court, and we will await that," Tambo added.

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