Who was whistle-blower Babita Deokaran?

Babita Deokaran had just returned from dropping her child off at school when she was gunned down. Picture: Facebook

Babita Deokaran had just returned from dropping her child off at school when she was gunned down. Picture: Facebook

Published Aug 23, 2023


Babita Deokaran’s name is back in the headlines as the six men who were responsible for her murder were arrested and sentenced to jail time earlier this week.

The six men sentenced for killing Deokaran have also given investigators the names of at least three more people linked to her murder.

The hitmen, Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Radebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Siphiwe Mazibuko, and Siphakanyiswa Dladla, pleaded guilty to charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and conspiracy to murder.

The men entered into a plea agreement with the State and the case did not go to trial.

While it is important to know updates on the court case, she was still a human being, someone’s mother, daughter, and friend, so the question is: who was Babita Deokaran?

Babita Deokaran was the chief director of financial accounting in the Gauteng Department of Health. She was only 53-years-old when she was shot and killed outside her home in Winchester Hills, south of Johannesburg, on August 23, exactly two years ago.

Deokaran was shot after returning from dropping off her daughter at school.

She was at the forefront of fighting and exposing corruption in the department, and it is believed that she was killed for exposing R1 billion in corruption at Tembisa Hospital.

At the time of her death, Deokaran had been assisting with investigations into personal protective equipment (PPE) tender scandals that rocked the health department.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has admitted that the whistle-blower was murdered for exposing R1 billion worth of irregular tenders issued at the hospital.

He added that she may have been killed for exposing how four prominent business families irregularly obtained massive tenders from the hospital.

Lesufi said a preliminary Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report found a link between Deokaran’s role in exposing 227 companies and her murder in 2021.

According to Lesufi, the 227 companies were owned by different families who each accumulated a certain number of contracts, which resulted in Gauteng health department incurring an irregular expenditure bill.