News / South Africa / Courts

Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
3 Nov 2021
8:28 am

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

Bernadette Wicks

Mkhize says he'll write to IPID, to ask for an investigation into how the Babita Deokaran murder confession was obtained.

Former Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius

Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has flatly denied any involvement in whistle-blower Babita Deokaran’s murder.

“Dr Mkhize would like to take this opportunity to assure Ms Deokaran’s family and all South Africans who are still reeling from the trauma of this callous crime that he has absolutely nothing to do with it nor the alleged procurement irregularities which are believed to have driven it,” read a statement issued on his behalf early on Wednesday morning.

The statement comes in the wake of shocking revelations which emerged in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Tuesday, when the six men accused of killing Deokaran appeared in the dock again – including that in a now disputed confession, one of them had fingered Mkhize as the mastermind behind the crime. 

ALSO READ: Babita Deokaran murder suspect fingered Zweli Mkhize in disputed confession

Their bail application finally began on Tuesday morning, with their counsel – advocate Peter Wilkins – reading into the record an affidavit from accused number one, Phakamani Hadebe, in support of his bid for freedom. 

In his affidavit, Hadebe pointed to an apparent confession he had made after his arrest in August, in which he implicated Mkhize.

He, however, claimed he had been tortured by the police who coerced him into making the confession and naming Mkhize, and that he had in fact never met the former minister, insisting he was simply telling the authorities what he believed they wanted to hear.

“It is with shock and sadness that Dr Zweli Mkhize has learned that his name has been dragged into the case of the men who were arrested in connection with the murder of Ms Babita Deokaran,” read the statement issued on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Babita Deokaran murder: Protection for whistleblowers vital, says Dlodlo

Deokaran was gunned down outside her home in Mondeor, in south Johannesburg, in August in what appears to have been a hit.

Nothing was stolen.

A high-ranking official with the Gauteng Department of Health, Deokaran was also a witness in various graft probes – including the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) investigations into allegations involving a R300 million personal protective equipment (PPE) tender.

In denying any involvement on his part, Mkhize’s statement also said: “It should be remembered that these alleged procurement irregularities took place at a provincial level, far away from the national sphere of government where he was deployed as a national Minister of Health”.

Further, it said the former minister had instructed his lawyers to write to the Independent Police Independent Directorate (IPID) to investigate “the circumstances surrounding the extraction and acceptance into evidence of the reported ‘confession’,” – adding that it could only have been aimed at causing him “political embarrassment”.

The bail proceedings continue on Friday.