The six men who have been charged with the murder of health official Babita Deokaran appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
The six men who have been charged with the murder of health official Babita Deokaran appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Six suspects accused of murdering whistleblower Babita Deokaran to learn next week about bail application

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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THE six men accused of killing Gauteng Health whistleblower Babita Deokaran will hear next week if their bail applications are successful.

Advocate Peter Wilkins, counsel for Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Sanele Mbele, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla, detailed a myriad of grounds at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for his clients’ release.

His primary submission was that the State’s case against the six men was inconclusive.

Wilkins recounted that the State’s case included a confession by Phakamani Hadebe, which he now contested.

Hadebe maintained that he was brutalised to make this confession. The confession also implicated former health minister Zweli Mkhize in Deokaran’s cold-blooded murder.

Wilkins told court that Hadebe was instructed by police who tortured him to implicate Mkhize.

“The first applicant asserted he had been told he received instructions from minister Mkhize,” he said.

“He says he did not know minister Mkhize, he has no knowledge of him and he denies that he ever received such instructions.

“He says that as a result of the continued torture he eventually made a statement that claimed he was indeed instructed by minister Mkhize even though he did not know him.

“We submit that on the face of it, in itself this is a complete fabrication,” Wilkins added.

Deokaran was ambushed and gunned down outside her Winchester Hills home two months ago. She had reportedly just returned from dropping her child at school.

Her killing was suspected to be linked to her role in the investigation into dodgy personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts in Gauteng. She was reportedly a key witness.

The State believed it had a tight case against the six and opposed their bail.

Advocate Steve Rubin, the State prosecutor, submitted that the accused have not brought exceptional grounds to necessitate their release on bail

“The State’s respectful submission is that all six ... failed to display exceptional circumstances and for that reason bail should be denied,” Rubin said.

Magistrate Simon Sibanyoni will deliver the bail judgment on November 9.

@BonganiNkosi87

THE STAR

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