Babita Deokaran’s alleged killers in court, seventh suspect released due to lack of evidence
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Johannesburg - The men accused of ambushing Gauteng health official Babita Deokaran and shooting her to death outside her Winchester Hills home made a brief appearance in court on Monday.
Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Sanele Mbele, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla have been charged for the hit-like killing that shocked the country last week.
They face charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
Earlier reports had indicated that seven people had been arrested. However, it was revealed in court that the seventh man was released because there was no evidence linking him to the crime.
Phindi Mjonondwane, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in Johannesburg, explained that the man was not even charged.
The attempted murder charge that the six face relates to the fact that Deokaran was with another person in her car when she was ambushed and killed.
The Johannesburg Magistrates Court heard that the men’s legal team and the prosecutor agreed to have the matter postponed to September 13.
The six, all from KwaZulu-Natal and were arrested there, were expected to bring their formal applications for bail at their next court appearance.
They kept calm in the courtroom mostly filled with journalists.
Deokaran had reportedly just dropped her child at school when she was gunned down last week Monday.
She was rushed to hospital where she later died.
Her killing is suspected to be linked to her role in the investigation into dodgy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contracts in Gauteng. She was reportedly a key witness.