Johannesburg - In the wake wake of the conviction and sentencing of six men accused of killing Gauteng Department of Health Acting Chief Financial Officer Babita Deokaran, calls have heightened for the alleged mastermind and shooter to be revealed.
This is especially true after reports yesterday suggested that Deokaran’s alleged assassin was also killed just months after she was slain.
The latest development raised questions online as to whether the prosecuting authority and police were aware of this before entering into the plea agreement with the six men.
Last week, the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, following the tendering of a guilty plea, sentenced Phakamani Hadebe, 31, Nhlangano Ndlovu, 29, Sanele Mbhele, 29, Siphakanyiswa Dladla, 27, Zitha Radebe, 32, and Siphiwe Mazibuko, 30, to sentences ranging from 10 to 22 years’ imprisonment.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said all the accused were convicted of the murder of Deokaran under the principle of “dolus eventualis”, in that they acted with a common purpose to execute the plan to kill Deokoran.
In their plea explanation, they detailed how they scouted and traced her movements on two separate occasions before she was killed. The killers also admitted that images of her place of residence as well as her vehicle were sent to a person known as Khanyisani Mpungose, who was introduced to them by Hadebe.
Mpungose was fingered as the person who approached Hadebe, seeking to deal with “problematic” Deokaran.
They stated that on August 23, 2021, the day Deokaran was assassinated, Mpungose arrived with an unknown man who joined them to execute the plot of killing Deokoran.
As she brought her car to a halt, one of their vehicles stopped alongside hers, and Mpungose and the unknown man fired several shots towards Deokoran’s car. Thereafter, both vehicles sped off.
Many comments remarked that the alleged death of the assassin came as a bitter-sweet moment for Deokaran’s family on the eve of the anniversary of her death. “What an easy way to protect the ANC member who is the kingpin in this horrendous murder!“ wrote one user.
Another commented: “This is infuriating. Fine, the assassin died, what about those who ordered the assassination? There are no other ways of linking the masterminds without the killer’s confession. NPA is useless.”
PPE whistle-blower Deokaran was murdered for exposing R1 billion worth of irregular contracts issued at Tembisa Hospital. According to reports, she may have been killed for exposing how four prominent business families, including top ANC politicians, irregularly obtained massive contracts from the hospital.