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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Hillary Gardee’s family suing minister Ronald Lamola for R18 million

The family is accusing Lamola’s department of negligence after one of the suspects accused of killing Hillary Gardee was released on parole.


The family of slain Hillary Gardee, the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, is reportedly demanding R18 million from Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

Hillary Gardee murder case

The Gardee family is accusing Lamola’s department of failing to keep the fourth suspect arrested in connection with Hillary’s murder in jail, despite claims that he allegedly violated his parole conditions, The Sowetan reports.

The details were contained in a letter of demand from MM Mashele Attorneys addressed to the minister.

Hlabirwa Rasie Nkuna was nabbed by Mpumalanga police in August in KwaThema (Springs), east of Gauteng.

During his arrest, police found Nkuna in possession of a firearm with its serial number filed off. He was also linked to three other murder cases in Mpumalanga.

Department accused of negligence

The Sowetan is reporting that the Gardee family is accusing Lamola’s department of negligence in releasing Nkuna on parole while he faces 10 cases, including armed robberies. The family also claims Nkuna absconded from parole management for two years.

READ MORE: Hillary Gardee murder case: Fifth suspect released after NPA drops charges

“The parolee was arrested for an alleged rape offence and subsequently the case was withdrawn, however, your department did not press charges for violating his parole conditions for such a long time and as such equivalent to escape from lawful custody.

“If the parolee had been charged for abscondment and violation of his paroled conditions when he was later arrested and released for an unrelated charge, he would have been released sometime in 2023, and the late Hillary Gardee would not have been his victim, causing the Gardee family so much grief,” the family’s lawyer, Makhakheni Mashele, wrote in the letter.

Gardee family demands

The family is demanding an apology letter and payment for general damages for the pain and suffering they endured for the “expensive” and sleepless nights they had searching for the then missing Hillary.

It also includes R2 million in special damages – for funeral costs, a tombstone and accidental events – for each of the nine family members.

Hillary was found on 3 May 2022 near a timber plantation outside Mbombela, after she went missing at the Nelspruit Plaza on 29 April.

The 28-year-old was found with stab wounds, boot prints and a gunshot wound.

Four suspects have been charged in connection with her murder.

Nkuna, Philemon Lukhele, Albert Gama and Sipho Mkhatshwa are facing several charges including murder, rape and kidnapping related to the murder case.

The accused remain behind bars, while Gama and Mkhatshwa have brought fresh bail applications.

Compiled by Kgomotso Phooko

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