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Health department welcomes sentencing of Babita Deokaran’s killers, calls on police to find the mastermind

The six men accused of killing Babita Deokaran Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

The six men accused of killing Babita Deokaran Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 23, 2023


Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla has welcomed the guilty plea and sentencing of the six men accused of killing Babita Deokaran.

Phaahla has further called on the police to continue with investigations into who ordered the hit on the department of health (DoH) financial accountant's life.

“We expect the criminal justice authorities to stop at nothing until the masterminds are brought to book,” he said.

“Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to the country`s growth and development, and it has a negative effect on the state’s ability to provide good quality, efficient and safe health services and is demoralising to our healthcare workforce.”

He was speaking just hours after the men were handed down prison sentences ranging from six to 22 years, Phaahla said the plea bargain must not be the end of the case.

Phaahla believes this was a heinous crime committed in an attempt to cover for the deeds of corruption, and the guilty plea is not sufficient enough, hence he calls upon the accused to never take their secret to the grave but disclose fully those who were involved and behind this dastardly deed of criminality.

On Tuesday, 31-year-old Phakamani Hadebe was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment, 29-year-old Nhlangano Ndlovu to six years.

Sanele Mbhele, 29, was sentenced to 22 years, Siphakanyiswa Dladla, 27, to 15 years — eight years for murder and seven years for possession of a prohibited firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Zitha Radebe, 32, was sentenced to 15 years and 30-year-old Siphiwe Mazibuko to 15 years imprisonment.

Deokaran was shot on August 23, 2021. Deokaran was the chief director of financial accounting in the Gauteng health department and was at the forefront of fighting and exposing corruption in the department.

She was assisting with investigations into personal protective equipment (PPE) tender scandals which rocked the department.