Criminals Have More Rights than Victims

The trial into the kidnapping, rape and brutal murder of Hillary Gardee has been postponed to 22 July for further investigations.

The EFF says Criminals Have More Rights Than Their Victims in Jail

The EFF Deputy Secretary-General Poppy Mailola said the justice system of South Africa needs to change. Mailola was addressing EFF supporters outside the Nelspruit Magistrate Court on Thursday. She said the court takes preference for criminals and rapists more than victims. 

She further told the crowd that the justice system that does not favor vulnerable women and children in our society only criminals who get to benefit in jail.

Everytime when we are attending this court case, the Gardee family is reliving the pain of losing their daughter. The accused are comfortably sitting in jail getting all the benefits and demanding doctors. This means that criminals have more rights more than victims

Secretary General Poppy Mailola

Security Beefed up During Court Appearance

The three accused Sipho Mkhatshwa (39), Philemon Lukhele (47), and Albert Gama (52) are accused of kidnaping Hillary Gardee, the daughter of former Economic Freedom Fighter secretary-general Godrich Gardee, on April 29 while she was reportedly seen shopping at Nelspruit Plaza.

Mkhatshwa was arrested on May 6, in Schoemansdal outside Malalane, in Nkomazi Municipality while Lukhele and Gama were arrested in Mbombela. During the appearance in court, the road Bester Street leading to the Nelspruit magistrate’s court was barricaded with barbed wire and a heavy police presence. When they kidnapped Hillary, she was with her adopted three-year-old daughter. The minor was left on the Street at KaMaGugu, near their house just outside Mbombela. Hillary’s body was found a week after she was reported missing.

During the court appearance, Magistrate Annemarie van der Merwe agreed to the request submitted by the legal representative of the accused number two to revisit a doctor for injuries, he allegedly sustained during torture by cell mates and SAPS officials. The accused told the court that he was beaten and assaulted by police.

Hillary was Shot Execution-style

The victim’s lifeless body was found with stab wounds, and boot prints and a gunshot was found on 3 May about 60km outside Mbombela towards Sabie. A source in the investigation revealed that the first accused arrest came after a sangoma he consulted for cleansing blew the whistle to the police.

The sangoma then directed the police at Lukhele’s guesthouse as the place where the victim was allegedly kept. Previously, the trio abandoned their bail application, however, Mkhatshwa made a U-turn and decided to apply for bail. His bail application was put on hold last week after his lawyer withdrew their services, citing a conflict of interest. Lukhele, who was a senior manager in the ANC chief whip’s office in Mpumalanga, has since been axed without pay after he was arrested. Gama is reportedly a security guard at Lukhele’s Intsika guesthouse in Nelspruit.

Mkhatswa Makes U-turn for Bail Application

Last week during Mkhatswa’s bail application, he told the court that he was in Malelane buying a cow and preparing for his lobola ceremony for his fiancé with his gardener. He told the court that on 7 May the ceremony was planned to take place.

I bought the cow from a man I know as Samsokol and Rudolf was to help with the paper work to transport the cow. After that I went to fetch my kids with my partner; In the late evening, I heard from the media that the deceased was missing. On April 30, I went to a church service which I was leading at Middelplaas for the Roman Catholic Church early around 9:00 in the morning

Accussed # 1 Sipho Mkhatswa

However, the state prosecutor Advocate Ntsika Mpolweni told the court that Mkhatshwa was lying about his whereabouts during the events he gave in court and said that a state witness will prove to the court through his cellphone location tracking that he is lying, he said the state had demeaning evidence that his phone was with the victim’s phone on the day.

We will prove when the investigating officer takes the stand and testifies that his cellphone number was in Mbombela on that day when the deceased disappeared.

Advocate Ntsika Mpolweni

The case was postponed to 22 July 2022 for further investigation and preparation of indictment. While bail hearing in respect of accused number one, Sipho Mkhatshwa will proceed on 07 July 2022 after obtaining a new legal representative.

Criminals have more rights to medical attention

The lawyer representing Philmon Lukhele and Albert Gama told the court that his client does not have a record of his injuries after he was given medical attention in custody.

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Previously the court heard that the suspects were tortured and beaten by police during arrest injuring them. Lukhele was the one who was allegedly severely injured with visible scars.

The court then agreed that they get medical attention, however, there were no reports about the check-up on the injuries. The lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo told the court that the two accused Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama did not abandon their bail, they did not request it. He told the court that given the public outcry, his clients decided not to request bail considering the nature of the case, and it was not safe for them to be outside.