SAPS denies failing to follow up on leads in Hillary Gardee murder case amid dad’s tweets

Hillary Gardee. Picture: Supplied

Hillary Gardee. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 28, 2022


Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane

Pretoria - The office of Mpumalanga police boss Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has denied that it’s dragging its feet or failed to follow up on leads in the Hillary Gardee murder case.

This followed tweets by the victim’s grieving father, Godrich Gardee, accusing the SAPS of gross incompetence.

Gardee has been up in arms for a few weeks, complaining to his 176 000 Twitter followers that the police were moving at a snail’s pace in solving his daughter’s murder case.

On Monday Gardee wrote that should he suddenly be killed, his followers should demand answers from the SAPS.

“I have watched the video of the thugs getting out of the car to the ATM to withdraw the money of #HillaryGardee. @SAPoliceService was given the car registration number. They have not arrested anyone … If I am assassinated, @SAPoliceService must answer,” wrote Gardee.

Gardee said that if anti-gang police officers such as Charl Kinnear could be killed, what hope was there for ordinary citizens. “The thugs can assassinate even police … with military precision,” he said.

Last week the former secretary general of the EFF wrote that he would not be complicit in the failures of the police. “I have warned @SAPoliceService and I warn @PresidencyZA & @DDMabuza. It will be explosive,” he said.

Gardee tweeted he was saddened to spend Father’s Day without a message from his daughter. Instead he laid wreaths at her grave.

But Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, spokesperson for Lt General Manamela, said the police were co-operating with the Gardee family. “The family is updated very frequently through Mr Gardee regarding the progress of the case. The updates take place through both physical meetings and telephone calls,” said Mohlala.

The provincial commissioner’s office had no idea what other information Gardee had on the case, he said. “We don’t know what information they have which is going to shock the public. Our investigation has not stopped since the case was registered. We are still continuing with the investigation and should there be any new suspect(s) detected and linked, we will not hesitate to arrest them,” Mohlala said.

Last month, Correctional Services transferred one of Hillary Gardee’s alleged killers to a section of the Barberton Maximum Prison facility after he was found in possession of a cellphone.

Hillary was kidnapped, raped and killed in April, after being missing for days.

Her murder has angered many South Africans, including politicians and leaders of the EFF. EFF leader Julius Malema has accused the police of incompetence after they failed to obtain footage of the vehicle that dumped Hillary’s body near Sabie outside Mbombela. Yet, a nearby farmer was able to provide the EFF with the footage upon request.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba also expressed concern over the incompetence that Gardee had been tweeting about. “It is unfortunate what the Tripartite Alliance has done to the country’s law enforcement agencies,” said Mashaba.

The EFF has also promised to assist a mother who reported on Gardee’s tweet that her daughter, who was raped when she was 5, had just turned 10 while the suspect walked freely after one court appearance, where he was granted bail, five years ago.

Gardee spokesperson, Sinawo Tambo of the EFF, said the tweets referred to the fact that police failed to arrest other individuals suspected to have been involved in the abduction of his daughter.

“Comrade Gardee has been working with the police and given them verifiable, credible evidence to assist in the arrest of further suspects … they have not acted on this. They provide no update on this and it is malicious to suggest otherwise … we hope the Gardee family’s pleas for a speedy resolution to this case can be heeded by the SAPS.”

Pretoria News