Seven suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of the senior finance official at the Gauteng health department, Babita Deokaran.
The 53-year-old public servant was gunned down on Monday morning outside her complex in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, shortly after dropping off her child at school. She later died in hospital.
She was among the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) witnesses into its investigations into contentious multimillion-rand personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders in Gauteng.
Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili on Friday said the suspects were arrested on Thursday during a police operation at the suspects’ hideouts in Johannesburg.
During their arrests, police recovered two firearms and two vehicles.
“The South African Police Service’s [Saps’] Gauteng Serious and Violent Crimes Unit in collaboration with Saps Johannesburg K9, Johannesburg East Crime Intelligence, Fidelity Specialised Services and Community Active Protection operationalised information received and conducted a takedown operation at the suspects’ hideouts in Johannesburg,” Muridili said in a statement.
She said police made the breakthrough in the case after they received information from Crime Intelligence. The suspects are expected to appear in court soon.
A case of murder was registered at Mondeor Police Station and transferred to the provincial head office for investigation by the Saps’ serious and violent crimes unit.
“The case docket has been transferred to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation [Hawks] for further investigation. There is a possibility of more charges being added to the charge of murder when the suspects appear in court soon.”
National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole welcomed the arrests and commended the investigating team.
“I am confident that the Hawks will work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served,” Sitole said.