South Africa

AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Six suspects accused of murdering whistle-blower Babita Deokaran appear in court

The six accused of the murder of Babita Deokaran, from left, Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla (not in frame) in the dock of the Johannesburg Magistrates' Court. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Monday, 30 August, marks seven days since Babita Deokaran was murdered outside her home, with six suspects linked to her murder making their first court appearance. More arrests are expected.

Six suspects appeared in the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court on charges relating to the murder of Gauteng health department senior financial official Babita Deokaran. Investigators believe her death was a targeted hit linked to her involvement as a witness in a R332-million PPE scandal.

The suspects were charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition. 

The six were remanded in custody, pending an investigation for a formal bail application, for which they will be back in court on 13 September.

Ndivhuwo Mulamu, communication officer at the Hawks, told the media that none of the suspects who appeared in court was a health department official, and that they are from KwaZulu-Natal. 

The six accused of the murder of Babita Deokaran wait for their case to called in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

The suspects, in order of appearance, are: Phakamani Hadebe; ZithaHadebe; Nhlangano Ndlovu; Sanele Mbele; Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswe Dladla.

Phindi Mjonondwane, regional communication manager for the National Prosecuting Authority, explained that the suspects are also charged with attempted murder because, according to the docket, Deokaran was with another person in the vehicle during the incident.

“The person who was with the deceased during the shootout is at this point safe and she was not injured. However, hence we adding the conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder on the charge.”

Seven suspects were arrested last Friday (27 August) in relation to the murder, but only six appeared in court on Monday.

See also previous story here: Seven suspects to appear in court on Monday in connection with murder of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran

Accused Siphiwe Mazibuko covers his face in the dock of the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Mjonondwane told the media that the seventh suspect that was arrested could not be placed on the roll due to a lack of evidence, stating, “he was not charged at all, because currently we don’t have any evidence that suggests that he is linked to the alleged crime.”

Mulamu added that the reason the seventh suspect was originally arrested was due to his connection with another suspect, “when we followed up on information that we received during our operation last week, the seventh suspect was with one of the suspects who is linked to the crime committed. 

The accused after the case was postponed to 13 September 2021. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

“So he was brought in for questioning. However, through the information that we collectively received on our investigation, he was not linked to any crime that was committed. However, a case against him at this moment is provisionally being drawn, pending investigation.”

The six accused of the murder of Babita Deokaran stand in the dock of the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court, from left: Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla.
(Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Mulamu confirmed that more arrests are imminent, saying: “We still have outstanding suspects that we are looking into; there’s intelligence that we are working with and we are following up on that information. And we can actually confirm that more arrests will be imminent.”

Later, Mulamu added: “We are very much sure that the [investigation team] out there, working with intelligence and other law enforcement who are helping to trace all the suspects who are linked to this crime, will [bring them] to book.” DM

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All Comments 8

  • These are the foot soldiers. If the Hawks arrest the person or group of people who funded this hit it will be extremely sad. Along the same lines as the “July Insurrection” in KZN and Gauteng: A few unimportant scapegoats take the fall, but the real high-level ANC members who orchestrated it will never be charged. And Bheki Cele charges around arresting every Phoenix resident who was over-zealous in the protection of his property, but far less interested in the actual proximate cause of the damage. Very sad.

  • Absolutely these men are the foot soldiers- hopefully they will be forced to say , or even of their own volition, who were their paymasters, and were those people implicated in other graft projects All sorts of things could come out- a veritable Pandora’s box!

  • Offer a pardon or reduced sentence for giving up their masters. No point hammering these guys whilst the real criminals walk amongst us… if they should live that long….

  • The ANC will never arrest its own. This case will never uncover the masterminds, sitting in Lootfreely House no doubt. Cele was more concerned about a white family sitting on the beach in Cape Town than a beheading of 2 citizens in Natal so the murder of a whisltle blower exposing him and fellow ANC thieves will go nowhere.

  • So they have the low lives due to a neighbour’s vigilance. Now prove your worth and track down the real perpetrators behind this. There must be phone records or other chains to link these people to the real killer.

  • Please stop calling them “foot soldiers”. They are gutter snipe hired thugs who kill for money and favour. They are rubbish, garbage, discarded toilet paper. The moniker of soldier is very far from their low station in life.