Babita Deokaran’s murder is evidence of the justice system’s failure to protect witnesses, says Herman Mashaba

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Pretoria - ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba on Monday lambasted South Africa’s justice system for failing to protect senior Gauteng Health official and corruption whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, who was gunned down outside her Winchester Hills home, in Johannesburg.

Deokaran was a key whistle-blower in an investigation into dodgy personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts in Gauteng.

“Her death represents the justice system’s failure to protect brave South Africans, who are ’gatvol’ with corruption and have taken it upon themselves to play their part in fighting the scourge of this coordinated criminality, even to the extent of risking their own lives,” said Mashaba.

The ActionSA president was leading a delegation of his senior party members, including his party’s mayoral candidates for eThekwini, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni – Makhosini Khoza Abel Tau and Tlhogi Moseki, respectively – who attended the court appearance of six of Deokaran’s alleged murderers.

There was also a group of ActionSA supporters outside court, who came carrying placards which read: “Protect our whistle-blowers” and “Jail the criminal masterminds”.

Covid-19 regulations in South African prisons, on Monday, derailed the bail application of the six men – in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court – who are charged with the murder of Deokaran.

FRIENDS and colleagues attended candlelight vigil for murdered Gauteng Health chief director Babita Deokaran, who was shot dead outside her home. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

The accused, Phakamani Hadebe, Zita Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko, and Phakanyiswa Dladla, were due to apply for bail, but their legal counsel Shafique Sarlie asked for a postponement.

In his application, Sarlie told the court he had been unable to properly consult his clients due to Covid-19 restrictions at Johannesburg Prison.

He asked the court to grant him an opportunity to fully consult with the accused, and asked that the matter be postponed until October 1.

Sarlie said the bail application would be in the form of a submission of written affidavits to the court.

The court granted the postponement.

THE funeral service of the late Babita Deokaran, who was gunned down outside her Johannesburg home. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

The accused were remanded in custody. They also face charges of attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

In honour of Deokaran, Mashaba on Monday launched ActionSA’s Anti-Corruption Blueprint – the party’s roadmap for fixing South Africa, one municipality at a time, by ending corruption.

“We unwaveringly believe, in respect for the rule of law and ethical leadership, at all levels of government – no country can prosper in a state of anarchy and lawlessness. For South Africa to make progress, we must address the rampant crime, corruption, and general lawlessness,” said Mashaba.

“Fixing South Africa means that we need to put an end to the era of political patronage, cadre-deployment and the rampant looting of public funds. Instead, we need an ethical, competent and caring government, that is committed to public service with pride. That party is not the ANC,” concluded Mashaba.

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