Pretoria - The daughter of former EFF secretary-general and lawyer Godrich Gardee was yesterday found dead after she went missing last week.
Hillary Gardee was found abandoned outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga after being last seen on Friday at a supermarket in Mbombela.
She was with a 3-year-old who was found roaming in town at the time of her disappearance. A R100 000 reward for information had been offered for the safe return of the 28-year-old.
Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said police in Mbombela were called and informed by some members of the community who were on their way to work about the body of a woman. He said she had some wounds on the head when the police arrived at the scene.
“Upon their arrival, they found the body of a lady. She has now been identified by her family as Hillary Gardee. She was still wearing the clothes she was reportedly wearing during her disappearance. She had some wounds on her head. Police are investigating a murder case.
[AT THIS HOUR] The Minister of Police and National Commissioner of the @SAPoliceService arrive at the Gardee home in Nelspruit, they have just returned from the crime scene where the body of Hillary Gradee was found. SAPS in the province are investigating a case of murder. pic.twitter.com/mLHpGUvNvO— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) May 3, 2022
“Anyone with information that may assist can call the Crime Stop number 0860010111 with regard to the suspects or send the information via the MySAPS app. All the information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous,” said Mdhluli.
EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said Hillary’s killing was part and parcel of the broader problem of gender-based violence in South Africa.
“We need to intensify our fight against the scourge. But we thank South Africans for standing together and rallying behind the former SG in trying to find his daughter.
“It ended in this manner, but we say let us stand together in showing that people who are kidnapped, abducted and murdered are treated in the same way in terms of public sympathy and ensuring that they are found,” said Tambo.
“There must be a stronger measurement in ensuring that those who are involved in gender-based violence are broad to book. We must build a sympathetic law enforcement agency that is going to be understanding of the situation of gender-based violence and respond accordingly.”
EFF Statement On The Passing Of Hillary Gardee, Daughter Of Former Eff Secretary General Godrich Gardee pic.twitter.com/P2ZIK7RZIS— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) May 3, 2022
The EFF said the news left the party and family distraught.
“The EFF regrets, with deep sadness, to inform the public about the passing of the daughter of former secretary-general, Hillary Gardee,” the statement read.
“The body of Hillary Gardee was found abandoned outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, after she had gone missing on April 29, 2022. This heartbreaking news has left the Gardee family distraught, and the collective leadership of the EFF at a loss for words.”
Hillary was born in Lagos in Nigeria in 1994 and she was the first-born of Gardee.
“And her loss has left immeasurable devastation as he grapples with the pain of losing a child in such a callous, cruel and inhumane manner. Hillary was an enthusiastic, kind, and loving individual, who had a passion for information technology. She was a student at the University of South Africa, studying IT part-time while running her own IT business,” the statement read.
“Her kindness and generosity were most evident in her commitment to adopt and care for a 3-year-old child, who by the grace of God was spared on the day of Hillary’s abduction. She looked after the child as if she were her own, and an inspiring act for a woman of such a young age.”
Members of political parties sent their heartfelt condolences to Gardee’s family on social media.
One SAMovement leader Mmusi Maimane said: “I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Gardee family and to Godrich Gardee. This is a devastating development. May the soul of Hillary Gardee rest in peace. I will be keeping the Gardee family in my prayers.”
DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube also sent her condolences: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gardee family. Losing a child in this manner must be most devastating.
“May she rest in peace and justice be served swiftly. The war against women continues to rage on in SA”.
Black First Land First deputy president Zanele Lwana said: “No one must lose their child. Rest in peace to the daughter of comrade Gardee. This country is a whole crime scene.”