By VUSI ADONIS
MBOMBELA – Mourners gathered outside the family home of Hillary Gardee in Mbombela (Nelspruit) yesterday (Friday) to pay their respects and offer condolences to the Gardee family.
Among those in attendance were Mbombela mayor, Sibongile Makhushe, who, along with EFF deputy secretary-general Poppy Mailola, led a women's march through the streets to the Gardee home.
A visibly emotional Makhushe addressed the large group of women who gathered outside the Gardee home and spoke fondly of Hillary, whom she had known since the murdered 28-year-old woman was a young girl.
Noble Gardee, Hillary's brother, lit a candle in remembrance of his slain sister. The crowd joined him as they sang songs of Struggle and church hymns as the sun set over Mbombela.
The Gardee home was a hive of activity as final preparations were under way for the funeral service of Hillary.
The slain daughter of former EFF secretary-general, commissar Godrich Gardee, will be laid to rest today at Kamagugu Township in Mpumalanga.
Family spokesperson Sinawo Thambo, who is also the national spokesperson of the EFF, has requested that a certain level of decorum be adhered to during proceedings during the funeral.
Thambo pleaded with the would-be attendees: “Let us not cause a stampede or flood the funeral. We will be extending invites. We do, of course, understand that this is a national tragedy, but let us also have a sense of humanity to respect that the family is in mourning and not turn the burial into a spectacle.”
Hillary was reported missing on Friday, April 29. She was reportedly last seen leaving a shopping complex in Nelspruit at approximately 5.30pm. What transpired afterwards is a matter of conjecture.
She was subsequently found dead in a field about 45km outside Mbombela on Tuesday by a group of passers-by who were making their way to work.
It has since come to light that the 28-year-old Hillary suffered a bullet wound to the back of the head.
Thambo expressed his lack of confidence in the police’s competence. He lamented that “our biggest concern is that the police on the scene did not pick up that Hillary Gardee had been shot. This is gross incompetence – it does not need forensics to identify a bullet wound”.