‘Do you want me to smile for you?’ – Hillary Gardee murder accused

Published Jun 3, 2022


Johannesburg – Sipho Mkhatshwa appeared at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court for day two of his bail application hearing.

His bail application hearing was postponed to June 9 and he has been remanded in custody.

The date that has been set is the original date that he and his two co-accused, Philemon Lukhele and Mduzuzi Gama, were scheduled to appear in court again after they had all abandoned their applications in May.

Mkhatshwa then made a U-turn and applied for bail.

In a strange turn of events, the EFF posted a video of Mkhatshwa making a distasteful remark to a female reporter as he was walking out of the dock and making his way down to the holding cells.

He said: “Do you want me to smile for you?” much to the annoyance of another reporter who heard the jibe.

In the court proceedings, yesterday Mkhatshwa took to the stand and detailed his movements on the day Hillary Gardee went missing.

He further went on to inform the court of his movements from the time Gardee was reportedly abducted on April 29 to the time her body was discovered on a plantation some 45km outside Mbombela.

He stated that he was primarily occupied with the preparations for his imminent lobola celebrations.

Mkhatshwa claims he spent his time fitting outfits, purchasing refreshments for the wedding and cleaning his yard with his gardener in preparation for his upcoming lobola and wedding celebrations.

He further went on to say that he was leading a church service on the day the State alleges Gardee was killed.

“On the day the State alleges I was involved in the murder, I was in church and then went to a Portuguese festival until 7pm,” he said.

Mkhatshwa made reference to the fact that he is an elder of the Roman Catholic Church in the Malelane district.

He alleged that he was assaulted and tortured while in police custody and has subsequently opened a case with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

He said: “I am innocent of all charges. Instead, the police tortured me into confessing to the crimes and implicating my co-accused.”

Mkhatshwa claims to have been nowhere near Mbombela on the afternoon of April 29.

The State purports to have evidence that will prove that Mkhatshwa’s phone was with Gardee’s phone on the day that she went missing.