The formal bail application for one of the accused in the Hillary Gardee murder trial has been postponed yet again.
Gardee’s alleged killers; Sipho Mkhatshwa, Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama, appeared before the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The trio, arrested in connection with the murder of the daughter of former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) secretary-general Godrich Gardee, is facing a number of charges including rape, kidnapping and murder.
The three suspects told the court they planned to plead not guilty to all the charges against them.
There is now also a third magistrate who is presiding over the matter, which could raise concerns on how the change of magistrates will impact the progress of the murder case.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) provincial spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, says the matter was postponed to 22 August 2022, for the indictment to be served on the accused.
“While bail hearing in respect of accused number 1, Sipho Mkhatshwa, will continue on Monday 25 July, accused number 2 and 3 will apply for bail on 27 July 2022. All three accused are remanded in custody.”
Speaking outside court following the postponed, the party’s secretary general Poppy Mailola said they have no faith in the legal system.
“We were expecting that there would be some postponement, because we do understand that in South Africa we do not have a legal system because what is happening here is retraumatising to the family, and we are fully aware that the Gardee family are prepared and willing to be able to assist the police in terms of gathering evidence, that is why they even approached the court.”
“We don’t have faith in the legal system of South Africa… We do not. And, there has been evidence for years, meaning there are so many cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa that even right now – are sitting in police stations. There are cold cases in South Africa, we do not have hope,” Mailola said.
The Gardee family said police were dragging their feet in the investigation into the murder of their daughter.
They said more could be done as they believe more people were involved in the crime.
The EFF has since launched its own investigation into Gardee’s murder by hiring private investigators.
The Red Berets had previously accused the police of gross incompetence, saying the officers at the crime scene did not notice that Hillary had a bullet wound in the back of her head.
The party said, at the time, that the gunshot wound was only noticed by the forensic team afterwards.
Hillary went missing at the Nelspruit Plaza on 29 April.
It is believed she was kidnapped as she made her way to a nearby taxi rank – which is metres away from the Nelspruit Police Station.
The 28-year-old was found on 3 May, in a timber plantation about 40km outside Mbombela, days after she was reported missing.