‘Our lives will never be the same without her’ − Babita Deokaran family
During the commemorative event, commitments were made to find the mastermind behind Deokaran’s murder.
Family, friends, colleagues, civil society organisations including the Gauteng Department of Health paid homage to Babita Deokaran at a special commemorative event in Mondeor on Wednesday. Picture: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
Babita Deokaran has been remembered as a woman of integrity whose voice cannot be silenced.
Family, friends, colleagues, civil society organisations including the Gauteng Department of Health paid homage to Deokaran at a special commemorative event hosted by Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on the 2nd anniversary of her assassination.
During the gathering in Mondeor on Wednesday night, commitments were made to find the mastermind behind Deokaran’s murder.
Deokaran’s brother-in-law, Tony Haripersadh, said the family was extremely grateful for the support they have received.
“This is a very difficult time for the Deokaran family being the second anniversary of that fateful day when Babita was snatched away from us in such a horrendous manner. The events of 23rd August 2021 are forever etched in our minds and will be a lifelong memory to our family.
“Two years later, nothing has got easier for the family. We speak about our beloved, beautiful, remarkable Babita always and she is never far from our thoughts. Our lives will never be the same without her,” said Haripersadh.
Haripersadh welcomed the guilty plea this week of six men accused of killing her. They also confirmed that they were hired to kill Deokaran because she became “problematic” at work.
“However, we find no closure as a family that lost a loved one for a cause such as this.”
Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko representing Premier Panyaza Lesufi maintained that in memory of Deokaran, the truth must be uncovered to expose the mastermind who ordered the hit and to ensure they are brought to justice.
The MEC said Deokaran “amazing legacy and contributions continue to resonate within the corridors of the Gauteng Department of Health, where she once served as an exceptional employee”.
“While the sentencing of the six men offers a sense of relief, we must not lose sight of the broader scope of justice. It is incumbent upon us to pursue every lead, explore every avenue, and relentlessly seek out those who orchestrated this tragic event.
“We owe it to the memory of Ms. Deokaran, her family, and our community to uncover the full truth, to expose the mastermind who plotted this crime, and to ensure they, too, are brought to justice,” she said.
Lee-Anne Germanos, senior campaigner at Change.org has been working with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on a “Justice for Babita” petition ensuring that her death will not be in vain.
“The petition was launched this month, the same month that we honour women like Babita. This petition calls on the Gauteng Department of Health to suspend the officials implicated in the R1 billion, which Babita exposed and for which she was murdered.
“The most important demand in this petition is that the department blacklists the over 200 companies who facilitated that corruption which was confirmed by the SIU,” said Germanos.
Deokaran was shot several times outside her complex in the south of Johannesburg in August 2021, after flagging corruption in the Gauteng Department Health’s procurement of Covid personal protective equipment to the value of R332 million.