Cops must find true motive for Gardee murder

The speedy arrest on Friday of a suspect allegedly involved in the cold-blooded murder of 28-year-old Hillary Gardee – daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee – is commendable.

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela revealed yesterday that a 39-year-old man will appear in court tomorrow  in connection with the killing, which was executed in the most brutal fashion.

The alleged scumbag is said to have been found at his hiding place on the outskirts of Mbombela in Mpumalanga. He now faces a charge of murder, with the police saying they are not ruling out the possibility of adding further charges.

As we all try to figure out the reason for this heinous act, Manamela appears convinced that there could have been more people involved in this execution-style killing.

Let it be said from the outset that this incident – like many others – is just too upsetting in all the aspects of how it unfolded. This young woman left home not knowing that there were people who were waiting to pounce on her and her three-year-old daughter, who helplessly watched as her mother waged a desperate struggle to ward off her abductors.

Women in South Africa are under siege. They are correctly asking who is next.

Parents are terrified. They are afraid for the safety of their daughters because they don’t know if their children are going to be the next Hillary or Tshegofatso Pule, whose pregnant body was found hanging from a tree two years ago after she was – in what was a contract killing – cold-bloodedly shot in the chest.

Parents fear that their daughters could become the next Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was raped inside the Post Office in 2019 where she went to pick up a parcel. She was bludgeoned with a heavy object before her body was locked in a Post Office safe for several days.

These murders have become common tales of what most women are facing in our townships, suburbs and cities across the country. There are many other such untold
stories in our villages.

Families across the country have real reason to be afraid for the safety of their children, daughters and mothers. They are never sure if their children will ever return home safe.

As was the case with the other women before her, there is something eerily worrying about Hillary’s murder. It is difficult to believe that the killing was a mere act of petty crime gone wrong. Common criminals don’t abduct their victims.

It is only hardcore criminals like Pule and Mrwetyana’s killers who kidnap their targets before executing them.

The real killers or masterminds behind these murders are usually known to their victims. It is therefore hard to believe that Hillary’s murderers killed her for a mere R1 300. For all intents and purposes, this appears to have been a well-planned operation by people known to Hillary and her family.

As much as the police deserve praise, we do hope they will dig deep to uncover the real motive behind Hillary’s murder.

The family deserves to know.

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