Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Murdered Gauteng health official was a witness in PPE probe, SIU confirms

The Gauteng health department confirmed that Babita Deokaran died on Monday afternoon. 

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has confirmed that a senior finance official at the Gauteng health department, who was shot and killed on Monday, was one of its witnesses in their corruption investigations involving the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the province.

Babita Deokaran, 53, was shot several times outside her complex in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, shortly after dropping off her child at school in the morning. The department confirmed that Deokaran died on Monday afternoon. 

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told The Citizen on Tuesday morning Deokaran was one of its witnesses, but could not be drawn into speculating on whether her murder was a targeted hit.

“We are very clear that we want to allow the police to do their investigations so that we understand why what happened happened. At this present moment, we are not aware of what the reasons are for the shooting,” Kganyago said.

ALSO READ: SIU head raises concern for safety of PPE corruption witnesses

Kganyago also said they were concerned about the safety of their witnesses.

“We have always been concerned about it and in terms of where an indication is brought to us that there is a problem with regards to safety concerns, we intervene. And we have done so with many of our witnesses,” he said.

According to reports, Deokaran was shot several times on her upper body while opening the gate at her complex.

Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubele told TimesLive a white BMW stopped next to Deokaran and an occupant shot her several times.

Makhubele was quoted as saying it appeared that “someone was waiting for her to assassinate her”.

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