New bail bid for one of the accused in Hillary Gardee murder adjourned

Published Jun 2, 2022


Johannesburg – One of the suspects accused of murdering Hillary Gardee appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in a new bid to secure bail.

Sipho Mkhatshwa attended his bail hearing after he initially abandoned his bid for bail during his first appearance last month, and he was remanded in custody.

The state made it clear that they opposed Mkhatshwa’s bail application as he is facing schedule 6 charges which are deemed to be very serious.

Mkhatshwa has alleged that he was assaulted and tortured while in police custody and has subsequently opened a case with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). These claims were made in an affidavit read out by Mkatshwa’s attorney.

Mkhatshwa took to the stand and detailed his movements on the day Hillary Gardee went missing.

He alleges he spent the day making preparations for his upcoming lobola celebrations which were to take place in a week’s time.

Court was adjourned for the day.

The NPA will continue its cross examination on Friday at 11am.

Mkhatshwa’s alleged involvement in the murder of Gardee is not the first time he has had a run in with the law.

EFF members came out in large numbers to support the Gardee family during Mkatshwa’s bail hearing.

The party has called for Mkhatshwa to be denied bail.

One of his co-accused Philemon Lukhele has been moved to a maximum security facility after he was found with a cell phone in prison.

The Department of Correctional Services said: “The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) can confirm that remand detainee Philemon Lukhele was found to be in possession of a mobile phone on May 24, 2022 at the Nelspruit Correctional Centre. Mobile phones are classified as a contraband inside correctional facilities, thus making them unauthorised items.”

Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa, Mduzuzi Gama and Philemon Lukhele are charged with murder, rape, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and possession of illegal firearms.

All three men are due to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on June 9.

The 28-year-old daughter of the EFF’s former secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, went missing in April, and her body was discovered near Sabie in Mpumalanga.

An autopsy revealed Gardee was shot in the back of the head and stabbed multiple times.

The motive for her killing is still unknown, but court documents reveal that the suspects may have been planning the crime since January.