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Police arrest suspects linked to assassination of Gauteng health official

Handcuffs arrest
Arrest/ Pexels

By Kaya 959 Reporter

Police have arrested several suspects in connection with the murder of Gauteng Health official, Babita Deokaran.

Officers at the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit also seized firearms and vehicles during an operation in Rosettenville on Thursday.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Brenda Muridili, said officers from various units conducted a takedown operation after receiving information about the suspects’ hideouts in Johannesburg.

She said during the arrests, the police recovered two firearms and two vehicles.

“The team of experienced investigators caught a break in the case when they received information that led to the arrest of the suspects from Crime Intelligence. The case docket has been transferred to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation for further investigation.

“There is a possibility of more charges being added to the charge of murder when the suspects appear in court soon,” Muridili said.

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 Key witness in investigation

Deokaran had just dropped her child off at school on Monday morning when she was attacked. She was parked outside her property when she was shot several times. She died at the scene.

Deokaran was a senior finance official at the Department of Health which is currently under investigation for fraud and corruption relating to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment in Gauteng.

In paying tribute to Deokaran, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said during her tenure as Acting CFO, she uncovered corruption and stopped payments of irregular contracts in the department at different levels, including hospitals.

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

Makhura said as a result of her conscientious and courageous leadership, Deokaran provided crucial evidence to the disciplinary processes conducted by both the Offices of the Premier and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Her funeral was held in Phoenix in Durban.

The Public Service Commission said it was informed that Deokaran’s death is linked to an SIU probe. She was a key witness in the investigation.

“We view her killing as an attack not only on whistleblowers, but on the professionalisation of the Public Service as a whole,” the PSC said in a statement.

Officials said the attack on Deokaran is “part of an orchestrated campaign” to undermine the PSC.

“They are undermining the Code of Conduct which calls for a high standard of professional ethics in the Public Service.

“The incident once again highlights the vulnerability of whistle-blowers and the PSC appeals to all law enforcement agencies to take note of this tragic incident and to strengthen measures to ensure the safety of all persons who take courage to report maladministration and corruption,” the PSC added.

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