First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Police closing in on killers of corruption whistle-blow...

Maverick Citizen


Police closing in on killers of corruption whistle-blower Babita Deokaran — sources

Babita Deokaran’s bullet-riddled car in her garage at her Johannesburg South home. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

CCTV cameras in the street where murdered Gauteng Department of Health finance chief Babita Deokaran lived had been switched off when she was gunned down in cold blood on Monday. A vehicle that sped away from the scene has been identified, while police sources say a suspect has been identified too.

Babita Deokaran, 53, died in a hail of bullets at 8.20am on Monday, 23 August outside her home in Winchester Hills, Johannesburg. She was killed shortly after dropping her teenage daughter at school.

When she arrived home, a white BMW with the gunman inside was waiting for her. Her bullet-riddled vehicle bears all the hallmarks of a planned hit. None of her possessions was removed from the car.

deokaran car
Babita Deokaran’s bullet-riddled car. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

At the time of her murder, Deokaran was assisting with investigations into a personal protective equipment (PPE) tender scandal that has rocked the Gauteng health department.

Deokaran was among several witnesses the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has in its probe into the R332-million PPE deal. 

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago has indicated that her murder wouldn’t hamper their investigation as it came at the tail end of the process.

Sources told Daily Maverick that minutes before the shooting, and shortly after, the CCTV camera in the road had been switched off. It had been working the entire day, until that point.

Investigators also established that the camera at a garage opposite Deokaran’s home mysteriously went off before the shooting, only coming back online after the assassination. Experts said the two cameras that would have captured the shooting were jammed.

However, cameras further down the road captured the white BMW speeding through the area.

A Daily Maverick source said: “Police have managed to trace a suspect. At this stage we are gathering more information before making an arrest. The vehicle belongs to a former South African Defence Force member in Pretoria.

“There is a big syndicate behind the murder of Deokaran, and at the end we want to arrest all those who were behind the hit.”

On Wednesday, Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makbulela said no arrests had been made so far.

Daily Maverick investigations discovered that the vehicle used during the hit was spotted on three mornings in front of Deokaran’s home. The occupants were seen taking photos of the house on the days leading up to the murder.

deokaran home
The Winchester Hills, Johannesburg home of Gauteng health department official Babita Deokaran. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

“A resident who spotted the car on three occasions took pictures of the car. On the second day, the resident took down the registration of the white BMW. On Monday after the murder, the resident came forward, alerted police and gave police the pictures she took,” the source said.

The murder and robbery unit in Gauteng is awaiting the results of a forensic analysis of Deokaran’s cellphone to see if the device had been pinged.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa terminated the use of pinging platforms soon after the assassination of Anti-Gang Unit officer Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear on Friday, 18 September 2020.

The killer waited for Kinnear to pull up at his home, walked casually to his car and fired several shots through the driver’s window, fatally wounding the police officer.

The indictment showed that former rugby player and debt collector Zane Kilian had pinged Kinnear’s phone 2,408 times. His co-accused, and the person the State alleges he conspired with to murder Kinnear, is underworld figure Nafiz Modack.

Cape Town private investigator John Alexander is one of several people who have been barred from using pinging platforms. Alexander said the use of a jammer to interrupt the camera signal during the murder of Deokaran could not be excluded. He said the cyber technology in use today was extremely advanced.

Gauteng DA MPL Sergio dos Santos, who had known Deokaran for years and had close ties with her family, said: “There are a lot of rumours doing the rounds… the fact that she was a witness [in the PPE corruption case] and was murdered will discourage other whistle-blowers from coming forward.”

A candlelight vigil for Deokaran will be held on Thursday at the Office of the Premier, next to Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, from 5pm. DM/MC


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 15

  • Absolutely shocking! But where is our President to decry the shameful murder of a conscientious official by as yet unamed criminals.
    The country is broken and the silence is telling.

    • Just as in the case of Collins Khosa and so many other, he is obviously not interested and probably doesn’t even know who she is.

      • In women’s month a brave woman dies at the hand of cowards and murderous thiefs. The sacrifice of the brave is the only weapon we have against this insidious destruction of our country. Your story Babita must be told over and over. Others must take courage and not cower in fear. Honor is due to her. Her loved ones must know she had courage to defend her country from looters. Government must honor her by taking action to immediately provide protection for other witnesses. We the people for whom you did it salute you.

  • This is such a tragedy for her family and work colleagues and I hope that at the very least some good comes out of it in that it will be recognised that witnesses and whistle-blowers need protection. Some expression of disgust of this behaviour from the president would at least show that he cares a bit about the people of this country.

    • The SAPS have to investigate this before the NPA get involved. The question is: if there was SAPS involvement in this will it be properly investigated? I think that as a nation we’ve simply lost faith in the people that are appointed to do this work.

  • Where is the statement from the president of the ANCWL, Bathabile Dlamini? Where is the outrage justly attributed to such harrowing deeds as the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana or the most recent crime figures outlining the monstrous reality of rape in our country? Ineptitude bordering on criminality is all we see from our ‘honourable’ illustrious cadres. Time to pack your bags and go, comrades.

  • One practical outcome must be that vigilant citizens have a vital role to play in catching these thugs. Just a pity she wasn’t warned in time.

  • A brave and strong person – someone who knew what is right and what is wrong, and who called out the thugs. And now, in this gangster state of ours, she is cut down with impunity supported by the tacit, implied and/or express support of those whose specific mandate it was to protect her, to keep her safe from harm.
    Eternal shame rests on the shoulders of our tainted and corrupt leaders – and shame on you particularly, Cyril Ramaphosa. You, who has an elite bodyguard of hundreds of trained operatives, who bears the protective shield of high office – you for being a chicken-hearted spineless sycophant who failed to call out the state capture for what it was. Just look at Babita Deokaran, and understand how wanting your pathetic character is, you spineless “I fought it from within” bull**** artist.

  • Ashley, you have presented an eloquently written and excellent vision in the form of a dream. Others have done the same, possibly less eloquent and credible. One by an old man in our community is currently up on the South Africa Good News website. You cannot now go back to sleep. You need to start a process of building a vision that is concise and capable of exciting a wide range of support. The process can start modestly but by being inclusive you will be surprised how it will grow. South Africans are looking for a lead from someone that has credibility. Go for it.

  • Once again a vigil community member seems to be an important informant in the whole saga and essentially a critical “whistleblower”, I hope he/she remains protected!

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted