By: Kaya 959 News
Six people appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the murder of Gauteng Health official, Babita Deokaran.
Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Simphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla were charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said a seventh person was arrested but later released due to lack of evidence.
All accused were remanded in custody until 13 September for bail application preparations.
Deokaran was fatally wounded on 23 August 2021 outside her home in Winchester Hills, shortly after returning from dropping off her daughter at school.
Mjonondwane said there was another person in the car with Deokaran and this is why the gang has also been charged with attempted murder.
The men were arrested in a sting operation in Rosettenville. They are believed to be hitmen from KwaZulu-Natal and were nabbed at a hide-out. It is alleged that they were readying to leave for KZN when they were arrested by
The Sunday Times reported how the gang allegedly tracked Deokaran’s daily routine by monitoring her home, cellphones, tablet, and laptop weeks before her death. The men further reportedly used intricate high-tech devices to disable CCTV cameras near Deokaran’s home and a nearby petrol station to avoid being detected.
Deokaran worked as a senior official in the Gauteng Health Department’s finance department.
She was a key witness in a SIU investigation into the procurement of personal protective equipment in the department.
Deokaran moved to Johannesburg from Durban and was described as the ‘glue of her family’. After completing her schooling career, she went on to work at the Administration House of Delegates before she moved to Cape Town and later Gauteng where she joined the Department of Health.