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Babita Deokaran’s murder | ‘Justice will only be served when mastermind is arrested’

todayAugust 22, 2023 97

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The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Executive Director, Neeshan Balton, says even though they welcome the sentences that were handed down to the six men who pleaded guilty for the murder of whistleblower Babita Deokaran – justice will only be served when the mastermind behind the alleged assassination is arrested.

The men pleaded guilty to the crimes in the high court in Johannesburg today following a plea agreement with the State.

Nhlanganiso Ndlovu, Siphakanyisa Dladla; Zitha Radebe, Simphiwe Mazibuko, Sanele Mbele, Phakamani Radebe faced charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Deokaran who was a high-ranking official in the Gauteng Department of Health was gunned down outside her home in Winchester Hills, Johannesburg South on the 23rd of August 2021 – after exposing tender irregularities worth millions of rands at the Tembisa Hospital.

The suspects, who faced charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder among others, were given sentences ranging from six to 22 years respectively.

The 53-year-old Deokaran was a key witness in several corruption investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) related to procurement in the province.

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, believes her murder was an attempt to cover the graft and has urged the accused to disclose fully those who were behind what he terms, dastardly deed of criminality.

“The plea bargain must never be the end of the case, we expect the criminal justice authorities to stop at nothing until the masterminds are brought to book. Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to the country`s growth and development, and it has a negative effect on the state‚Äôs ability to provide good quality, efficient and safe health services and is demoralising to our healthcare workforce.

The health sector and government as a whole are committed to eradicate the scourge of corruption once and for all, and we have an even greater responsibility in honour of the life and sacrifices of Ms Babita Deokoran,” says the Minister in a statement.

The six men’s guilty pleas come on the eve of the second year since the killing of Deokaran, whose execution-style murder raised concerns that it might deter whistleblowers from speaking out.

 

 

Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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