Killings over whistleblowing, awarding of tenders and power contestation have become a disturbing features in ANC governed post-apartheid South Africa.
From slain Mbombela municipality speaker Jimmy Mohlala to Gauteng health department chief financial officer Babita Deokaran, the killings continue.
In both the Mohlala and Deokaran incidents, those behind the murders were driven by one motive: erasing evidence implicating certain people in wrongdoing.
A good family man and SA Communist Party leader, Mohlala was shot dead 12 years ago in what many believed was an attempt to cover up tender graft that tainted the construction of the R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Despite all the law enforcement tools at its disposal, government has failed to get to the bottom of the killing.
Then, later in 2012, the Hawks followed up on the tender corruption. They arrested five men, including Kaizer Chiefs’ general manager Bobby Motaung and former Mbombela manager Jacob Dladla.
Motaung’s company, Lefika Emerging Equity, won the tender to design the stadium. The National Prosecuting Authority declined to prosecute on the grounds that it had no winnable case.
Like Mohlala, Deokaran a dedicated Gauteng senior civil servant died for doing the right thing.
While police have refuted what many have seen as a hit, there is no doubt that Deokaran Thursday 12 26 August 2021 was killed for her stance against corruption, having assisted the Special Investigating Unit with information on Gauteng’s multimillion-rand personal protective equipment scandal.
“She took to heart the call to bring perpetrators of corruption and looting of public resources to book,” was how Gauteng premier David Makhura described Deokaran.
“As a result of her conscientious and courageous leadership, Ms Deokaran provided crucial evidence to the disciplinary processes conducted by the office of the premier and the SIU investigations,” he added.
The graft allegations have implicated high-profile individuals, including ANC leaders.
Against a groundswell of malfeasance, corruption and state capture, Mohlala and Deokaran are two martyrs who deserve to be posthumously bestowed with the highest order by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Failure by law enforcement agencies to follow up and take action against perpetrators of such heinous crimes is an indictment on the performance of the ANC government.
Whistleblowers, witnesses and civil servants in the forefront of fighting the scourge of corruption deserve 24-hour police protection.
Continued killings of civil servants dedicated to ethics in doing their jobs sends a bad signal about the running of the country – directly undermining South Africa’s democratic institutions and its status as a constitutional democratic state.
Until we see a more systematic and comprehensive response against this trend of killings, our criminal justice system is showing signs of going down a slippery slope.