News24 Investigate Babita Deokaran’s Broad Daylight Murder
Babita Deokaran, the Chief Director for Finance at Gauteng’s Department of Health, was gunned down in broad daylight. Deokaran had been a critical witness in corruption investigations for over a decade. She had flagged procurement irregularities at Gauteng’s Tembisa Hospital, exposing potentially fraudulent transactions totaling 850 million Rand.
Deokaran’s murder came three weeks after filing a report on the hospital, in which she flagged 1,203 purchase orders, all coming in under 500,000 Rand. The murder investigation led to the arrest of six hitmen, but many unanswered questions remain surrounding her death.
A News 24 investigative team led by journalist Jeff Wicks discovered blatant graft at Tembisa Hospital, with suspicious transactions all falling below the 500,000 Rand threshold, allowing them to bypass rigorous procurement processes. Out of the 217 businesses flagged by Deokaran, many were found to be paper companies, seemingly geared to extract money through government contracts.
In the wake of Deokaran’s death, there have been calls for criminal consequences and a forensic investigation. However, a year after her murder, decisive action is only just beginning. An independent forensic investigator is appointed, and internal steps are taken to address the flagged issues.
As the investigation continued, the family, friends, and civic justice organizations gathered to celebrate Babita Deokaran’s life, still mourning her loss and demanding justice. The mastermind behind her murder remains at large, and the authorities are urged to take action against those responsible for the corruption network.