Confirmed; the man who was arrested by Nelspruit police in connection with the murder of former South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Secretary General Godrich Gardee’s daughter, Hillary Gardee, is an exiled Swazi who is a member of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

His name is Philemon Lukhele but is popularly known as ‘Mhlabundzima’ within political circles. Lukhele is not just an ANC Senior Researcher in the Chief Whip's Office but a fully fledged ANC Member in Mpumalanga. He left the country for exile in 1998 and has been working for the ANC in Mpumalanga for over 15 years now. While he retained his membership of PUDEMO and occasionally participated in the organisation's activities, mainly border blockades, according to sources, Lukhele was now for all intents and purposes mostly active in ANC activities. 

The suspect Philemon Lukhele

Lukhele was arrested last night at his guesthouse and is currently awaiting court appearance. He also runs a Guest House in Nelspruit and information in possession of The Bridge is to the effect that there is a link between his guest house and the murder, in that the murder is alleged to have taken place at the guesthouse before the body was dumped – and it is also alleged that his car was used by the suspects in committing the offense. So far, these are the two things that link him with the case. The alleged killer is currently on the run since police have not yet concluded their investigations. South Africa’s Mpumalanga Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela was quoted by the media to have said the suspect would appear in court on Monday.

PUDEMO Leadership posing with the leadership of the EFF. 

Lukhele is a well-known member of the ANC having cut his teeth at SASCO where he led as President of the SRC at Wits while he was a student. He went to exile as a young activist and established himself in South Africa, participating in the ANC structures. A high-powered delegation of PUDEMO, led by the organization’s President Mlungisi Makhanya, attended Gardee’s funeral proceedings in Mpumalanga, and was well received by the family and South Africa’s EFF. They also took pictures with the Executive of the EFF, including its President Julius Malema.