Slain Gauteng Health CFO Babita Deokaran. Picture: Facebook
Slain Gauteng Health CFO Babita Deokaran. Picture: Facebook

Makhura pays tribute to murdered Gauteng Health CFO Babita Deokaran

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Aug 24, 2021

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Johannesburg - Premier David Makhura has paid tribute to the murdered Gauteng Health chief director Babita Deokaran, who was shot dead outside her home on Monday, describing her as an exemplary public servant who served the people.

Deokaran was shot dead outside her home to the south of Johannesburg after dropping off her children at school.

She died at hospital two hours after she was shot.

Makhura visited the Deokaran family on Tuesday, flanked by Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.

Deokaran was the chief director for financial accounting at the Gauteng Department of Health at her time of passing and was a witness, assisting the Special Investigating Unit with investigations into personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption.

Deokaran had been appointed as the Gauteng Health’s acting chief financial officer in August 2020 in the aftermath of the irregular and unlawful PPE procurement that rocked the province.

“She was a distinguished and exemplary public servant who served the people of Gauteng and the Department of Health with exceptional professionalism, unswerving dedication, and high ethical standards.

“During her tenure as the acting CFO, Deokaran uncovered corruption and stopped payments of irregular contracts in the department at different levels, including in hospitals.

“She took to heart the call to bring perpetrators of corruption and looting of public resources to book,” said Makhura.

The premier said Deokaran’s conscientious and courageous leadership saw her provide crucial evidence to the disciplinary processes conducted by the Office of the Premier and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigations.

“The result of her good deeds led to successful dismissals within the department and saw the institution of civil claims to recover public funds from businesses and government officials responsible for malfeasance and corruption.

“On behalf of the provincial government, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Deokaran family and her colleagues in the Gauteng Department of Health.

“The perpetrators of this brutal murder of an outstanding public servant must know that we have put in place all the necessary resources to find them and bring them to justice.

“In honour of Babita Deokaran, we will do everything in our power to ensure that the perpetrators of corrupt tender processes and the callous killing of officials face the full might of the law.

“We will not be cowed down by criminal gangs who want to loot state resources. We are taking steps to protect officials who have become targets of threats, intimidation and wanton murder”, said Makhura.

Earlier, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago also confirmed Deokaran had assisted investigators, but told Talk Radio 702 that the murdered woman had not requested protection.

He said investigations into the PPE corruption were at an advanced stage and did not believe her death would affect the work of the SIU.

Makhura meanwhile said a SAPS Provincial Task Team had been established to hunt down the perpetrators.

He said the Gauteng government was actively working with the SIU and other state institutions to uncover acts of corruption and ensure that public funds looted from the state are recovered.

“The provincial government is also working with civil society, organised labour, professional bodies, and business organisations to strengthen prevention, detection, and consequence management.

“We will not rest until our province is declared a corruption-free zone as well as a safe and ethical environment to live, work and do business in,” said Makhura.

Meanwhile, Mokgethi said she was at a loss for words after Deokaran’s death.

“Ms Babita Deokaran was an invaluable member of the Gauteng Health team, she rose up the ranks in the public service, in the last three decades, after she joined as an accounting clerk.

“She went on to become chief director: financial accounting at the GDoH and at times acted as the CFO,” said Mokgethi.

No arrests have been made.

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