Sangoma tip-off in Gardee murder case was possibly from a scorned ex- lover
The SMS tip-off police used to arrest Sipho Mkhatshwa and charge him with Hillary Gardee’s murder was allegedly sent from the number of his fiancée’s former mother-in-law.
This was revealed by Mkhatshwa’s fiancée Zandile Magagula as she took the stand to testify in his bail application in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Monday.
The SMS claimed Mkhatshwa had requested a cleansing after admitting to Gardee’s murder.
The SMS sender, who claimed to be a sangoma, alleged Mkhatshwa wanted to sell two children living with albinism to the sangoma for R2m.
A cellphone number was also included in the text. The sender informed police that the number belonged to the person who lived with albino children who were to be sold.
Magagula confirmed the number which had sent the tip-off belonged to her former mother-in-law. The cell number that was included in the text was Magagula's mother's number and indeed, her mother lived with her children.
“How does a sangoma know my mother’s number?” she asked.
The Sunday Times reported on the SMSs last month.
The messages were written in Zulu, Swati and English.
In them, the “sangoma” claimed Mkhatshwa repeatedly contacted him after apparently confessing to Gardee’s murder and dumping her body along the R37.
Translated into English the first SMS reads: “I cleansed him and then gave muthi ... he found the girl he wanted. He said she has children who are fair skinned [albinism].
“He further said to me that I should give him R2m and he will give me the children so I can make muthi for good luck. I told him I do not use human body parts when I concoct muthi.”
Magagula, who has two children who have albinism, told the court she believed the bogus tip-off was sent by her ex-husband.
“I know his style of writing and it’s that one in the text.”
Magagula said she and Mkhatshwa had previously received threatening texts, with some alleging Mkhatshwa was planning to sell her children.
He was arrested and charged with the murder of Hillary Gardee, who was the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee.
The arrest happened on the eve of their traditional wedding.
Gardee went missing on April 29 after going shopping with her daughter. The three-year-old girl was dumped a few streets from their home unharmed, while Gardee’s body was found dumped next to a pine plantation 40km outside Mbombela on May 2. She had been shot dead.
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