Accused in Hillary Gardee murder stripped of fraudulently obtained ANC membership | News24

Philemon Lukhele, in a black jacket, was arrested together with Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa and Albert Mduduzi Gama for Hillary Gardee’s murder. Lukhele works in the office of the Mpumalanga ANC Chief Whip.

  • The ANC in Mpumalanga revoked Philemon Lukhele’s membership.
  • He is one of the accused in the murder of Hillary Gardee. 
  • The party found that Lukhele had fraudulently optioned his membership.

The ANC has revoked the “fraudulently obtained” membership of Philemon Lukhele, one of the accused in the kidnapping and murder of Hillary Gardee. 

Hillary was the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee.

Lukhele’s expulsion comes after a meeting of the Mpumalanga ANC’s working committee on Friday. 

In a statement, the Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson, Ngelosi Ndhlovu, said: “Following the arrest of Mr Philemon Lukhele and his subsequent charging for kidnapping, rape, possession of an illegal firearm, defeating the ends of justice and the murder of Ms Hillary Gardee, the ANC provincial working committee has taken a decision to immediately withdraw his membership.

“The withdrawal of his membership has been invoked in accordance with the ANC Constitution Rule 4.”

The ANC also revealed that, following an internal investigation, it found that Lukhele’s membership was obtained illegally. 

“After an investigation into his membership was conducted, which proved that it was obtained irregularly, and therefore does not satisfy the stipulated requirements of the ANC Constitution, in that he is not a South African,” said Ndhlovu. 

It had also emerged that Lukhele was a member of the Eswatini opposition party, the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo). 

READ | Hillary Gardee murder: Decision on accused’s ANC membership delayed because he is in custody

The announcement came after strong criticism was directed at the ANC for failing to act more than a week after Lukhele was arrested. 

On Friday, Ndhlovu said the predicament faced by the party was that, as per its step-aside rule, a criminally-charged member had to be afforded the opportunity to voluntarily step aside. Only if a member failed to do so was the party empowered to suspend such a member. 

Ndhlovu acknowledged at the time that, as a result of the resolution, the party was left with its hands tied, given that Lukhele had yet to indicate that he would be voluntarily stepping aside or not. 

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