Two of Hillary Gardee’s accused still won’t apply for bail

Two of Hillary Gardee's accused still won't apply for bail
ACCUSED: Sipho Mkhatshwa, Philemon Lukhele and Mduduzi Gama made a second appearance at the Nelspruit Magistrates Court in connection with the murder of Hillary Gardee. PICTURE BY EWN

The court is currently preparing their charge sheet.

Two of Hillary Gardee’s three murder-accused are still not going to apply for bail at their next appearance in July 2022.

The three men made their second appearance at the Nelspruit Magistrates Court Thursday this week following their arrest more than a month ago.

At their first appearance on 9 May 2022, Philemon Lukhele, Sipho Mkhatshwa and Mduduzi Gama abandoned their bail application but last week Mkhatshwa opted to approach the court from the cells and ask for a bail application.

However his lawyer withdrew in the middle of the bail hearing, citing “conflict of interest” in representing Mkhatshwa and Magistrate Edward Horn had to postpone the matter to Thursday this week 9 June where Mkhatshwa appeared with Lukhele and Gama.

The court gave Mkhatshwa the date of 7 July 2022 to return and apply for bail alone while Lukhele and Gama made no indication of their intention to seek bail.

Lukhele and Gama will return to court on 22 July 2022 while the state continues investigations and the finalisation of their indictment.

Mkhatshwa (39) is the son of Catholic priest Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa and is the man who took cops to Lukhele’s Mbombela guesthouse which he alleged is where Hillary was gang-raped and killed afterwards.

Lukhele (47), an eSwatini pro-democracy politician exiled in South Africa, is accused number two in the case and was arrested after Mkhatshwa came with the cops to his guesthouse.

Gama (52)’s work is providing security services at night clubs and the cops are currently following up on leads that Lukhele’s guest houses were being used as sex dens where female students from the University of Mpumalanga who rented at the accommodation through the varsity’s accreditation contract were being given drugs and alcohol in order to sleep with older men.

The University has since withdrew their accreditation with Lukhele’s guesthouses, which accommodated 54 of them and all the students had vacated the place as the University would no longer pay for their stay there.

It cited the student’s safety when canceling the accreditation and also that it took seriously the issue of the murder of women in the country.

On Thursday evening – following the trio’s court appearance – unknown men scaled the perimeter wall of Lukhele’s Insika guesthouse shortly after 10pm, doused the house with petrol and then set it alight.

Police confirmed that Lukhele’s was petrol bombed but said at this stage the men are unknown. They are investigating the cause of the fire.

(edited by ZK)
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