• Sunday, September 24, 2023


Family of Babita Deokaran, Indian-origin whistleblower in South Africa who was shot dead, refuses to accept killers’ apology

Rakesh, the victim’s brother, told the media that five out of the six killers have children but they still did not spare the mother’s life.

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE family of Babita Deokaran, a senior Indian-origin official at the Gauteng provincial health department in South Africa who was killed in 2021 for helping to expose a multi-million dollar personal protective equipment (PPE) fraud that took place at the time of Covid-19 pandemic, has refused to accept apology from six men who have been convicted of the murder and sentenced.

This happened on Tuesday (22), a day before the two-year anniversary of the killing, South Africa’s Times Live reported.

On Tuesday, the six men — Phakamani Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Siphakanyiswa Dladla, Sanele Mbhele, Zitha Radebe and Siphiwe Mazibuko — pleaded guilty to the charge of murder. Dladla also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

They were arrested soon after the murder and was denied bail in December 2021.

The high court of Johannesburg handed sentences of six, 15 and 22 years’ imprisonment to the convicts.

The six men, who bid goodbye to their family members, also apologised to the Deokaran family but the kin of the 53-year-old deceased did not accept.

Babita’s brother Rakesh told the media that it would not help them to come to terms with her killing, the report added.

“The sad part is that out of the six, five have children and they have felt absolutely nothing for taking her life. Their apology is not accepted. Even though you apologise, it doesn’t give anyone the right to take an innocent life. Nothing will ever bring closure. She is missed every day,” he was quoted as saying.

Babita was shot several times through her car door on August 23 when she returned home in a suburb in Johannesburg after dropping her kid at school. She was rushed to hospital but didn’t survive.

Babita was one of 300 witnesses in a probe in the PPE purchase irregularities in Gauteng.

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