Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
18 Dec 2021
10:58 am

Babita Deokaran: One of the ‘hitmen’ still a government employee – report

Citizen Reporter

Sanele Mbhele remains a general worker at the Inkosi Langalibalele District Municipality despite being behind bars for four months.

Six suspects appear for an earlier bail application at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on 13 September 2021. They are on trial for the murder of whistleblower Babita Deokaran. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Sanele Mbhele, one of the six men accused of killing whistleblower Babita Deokaran, is still employed by the government.

This is according to a report in News24.

Mbhele remains a general worker at the Inkosi Langalibalele District Municipality in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, despite being behind bars for four months. He also reportedly went AWOL for nine months.

Mbhele is employed as a street sweeper and has been paid a salary every month even though he disappeared in March.

According to the publication, the municipality’s manager Patrick Mkhize has not yet taken disciplinary action against Mbhele even though he was told about him four months ago.

The reason for this, according to Mkhize, is that there was no official confirmation of Mbhele’s incarceration.

This is despite Mbhele making numerous appearances in court alongside his co-accused.

ALSO READ: Babita Deokaran murder: Defence tears into state’s ‘non-existent’ case

Mbhele and the five other suspects – Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Radebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Siphakanyiswa Dladla and Simphiwe Mazibuko – last appeared in court on 9 December where their bail hearing was postponed. They are set to next appear in court on 20 December.

The six suspects were arrested less than a week after Deokaran was gunned down outside her home in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, in August. Deokaran was a witness in various graft probes – including the Special Investigating Unit‘s (SIU’s) investigation into dodgy personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders worth R300 million.

ALSO READ: ‘Confessions’: Suspects detail how they stalked, shot Deokaran

The suspects are facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and attempted murder.

They are thought to have been hired hands and made various confessions and admissions immediately after they were arrested – including that former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was apparently their paymaster – but now claim they were tortured and coerced and that these were in fact false.

NOW READ: Mkhize says he had ‘absolutely nothing’ to do with Babita Deokaran murder

Additional reporting by Bernadette Wicks