Sonke Gender Justice extends its condolences to the family of Hillary Gardee, who was found dead in Mpumalanga

Sonke Gender Justice is saddened to learn about the passing of Hillary Gardee, 28, daughter of former EFF secretary-general and lawyer Godrich Gardee, who disappeared four days ago. We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Gardee family, the Gardee circle of relatives, and all those who knew Hillary.

“Information is still coming in, so we don’t know for sure what happened, but it looks at this stage as though she was abducted and murdered.”- EFF spokesperson, Sinawo Tambo

South Africa remains unsafe for women and children. Despite the country’s efforts, gender-based violence has not been eradicated.

In a statement released by the EFF, Hillary was described as an enthusiastic, kind, and caring individual with a who had a passion for information technology (IT). Her life was tragically cut short, denying the world the opportunity to learn from her and vice versa.

Hillary Gardee’s case is just one of many. In September 2020, two other women were found dead in the same province, Mpumalanga, Bushbuckridge municipality. While this is not an isolated issue, the number of cases in Mpumalanga province is so great that specialized resources are required to help with proper investigations of such heinous crimes to help families find closure.

In the five-year period between 2015 and 2020, a total of 13,815 women over the age of 18 years were murdered, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS). That’s an average of 2,763 murders a year, or about seven women a day. 

These manifestations tell us that something is seriously wrong with our society, and as citizens of this country, we cannot ignore or turn a blind eye to the rising levels of gender-based violence and femicide in our streets. By educating the youth and making it clear that femicide and other gender-based violent crimes have no place in a democratic South Africa, the government and all relevant institutions must institute programmes to combat these crimes and eradicate the violent culture that plagues our society.

To put an end to the pandemic of femicide and violence against women, immediate action is required. Sonke calls on the Mpumalanga provincial Police Commissioner  and relevant stakeholders to spare no efforts in ensuring that this crime is properly investigated, and that the responsible perpetrator(s) are brought to book speedily. 

Media enquiries

Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director, and Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance: or 082 -578-4479.

  • Notes to editors

Sonke is a South African-based non-profit organisation working throughout Africa. We believe women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve gender transformation.