Vital piece of information after assassination of Gauteng Department of Health Acting Chief Financial Officer Babita Deokaran enabled investigators to trace a vehicle at the scene to a former South African National Defence Force member residing in the Pretoria area. Meticulous investigation by a police task team secured the arrest of seven suspects in connection with her murder.

“She was rewarded for being an honest, hard-working and loyal government employee by having 12 bullets pumped into her, and had no chance to survive”. “Where in the world are you punished in such a heinous way for doing your job, and doing it honestly?” asked her brother Darshan.

A statement issued by National Commissioner of Police General Khehla Sitole on 27 August confirmed the arrest of seven suspects linked to the murder of Deokaran. Police confirmed the suspects will appear in court once they have been formally charged. The arrest came four days after the murder of Deokaran on 23 August in front of her house in Winchester Hills, Gauteng.

At 8am she returned home after dropping her child off at school. As she pulled up in front of her house, an unmarked white BMW pulled up alongside her car and fired several bullets into her vehicle. She died later in hospital. After the incident, a neighbour alerted police he had seen the same BMW on three occasions in front of Deokaran’s house. The occupants took pictures of the house and the neighbour took photos of the car and jotted down the registration number.

Family and friends mourned Deokaran, 53, at her funeral in Phoenix on Thursday. She was the acting chief financial officer the Gauteng Department of Health, and was a witness in one of the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) probes into corruption in the awarding of contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The multimillion-rand contract was awarded to the company owned by suspended presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko’s late husband and amaBhaca chief, Thandisizwe Diko.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi described Deokaran as an honest and dependable official who was also a good source of information.

Mokgethi’s tribute was read at the funeral by Rose Phasha, the acting chief director in Supply Chain Management. The MEC said she, like everyone in the department, was shocked and left with utter disbelief at Deokaran’s murder. #ladi_jaja?

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