The ANC in Mpumalanga has cancelled the membership of one of the men accused of the kidnapping and murder of Hillary Gardee.
The ANC said an investigation into Philemon Lukhele’s membership was conducted and “proved that it was obtained irregularly”.
“Following the arrest of Mr Philemon Lukhele and his subsequent charging for kidnapping, rape, possession of an illegal firearm, defeating the ends of justice and the murder of Ms Hillary Gardee, the ANC provincial working committee has taken a decision to immediately withdraw his membership,” ANC Mpumalanga spokesperson, Ngelosi Ndhlovu, said in a statement on Saturday.
The party revoked Lukhele’s membership following a meeting on Friday of its provincial working committee.
It said his membership was dismissed in line with Rule 4 of the ANC constitution.
‘Fraudulently obtained membership’
Ndhlovu said the investigation indicated that Lukhele’s membership was “obtained irregularly, and therefore does not satisfy the stipulated requirements of the ANC Constitution, in that he is not a South African”.
It was also found that Lukhele was a member of an opposition party in Eswatini, known as the People’s United Democratic Movement.
Meanwhile, the office of the ANC chief whip in Mpumalanga also suspended Lukhele without pay pending a disciplinary hearing.
The chief whip said Lukhele’s arrest had brought his office into disrepute, adding that the charges against him fell within the highest level of seriousness of their code of conduct.
Lukhele, alongside Sipho Lawrence Mkatshwa and Mduzuzi Gama, face charges of murder, rape, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and possession of illegal firearms.
They will remain behind bars until 9 June when they return to court.
Hillary Gardee, the daughter of the former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, was laid to rest last weekend after she went missing at the Nelspruit Plaza on 29 April.
The 28-year-old was found on 3 May in a timber plantation about 40km outside Mbombela days after she was reported missing.