Gunned Down Deokaran Had Uncovered PPE Graft

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has revealed that dedicated staffer Babita Deokaran, who was gunned down outside her home on Monday, had uncovered corruption in the department of health.

Deokaran was the chief director: financial accounting in the Gauteng Department of Health.

She was appointed acting chief financial officer (CFO) in August 2020 in the aftermath of the irregular and unlawful PPE procurement that rocked Gauteng.

“During her tenure as the acting CFO, Deokaran uncovered corruption and stopped payments of irregular contracts in the department at different levels, including in hospitals,” said Makhura on Tuesday.

“She took to heart the call to bring perpetrators of corruption and looting of public resources to book.”

Makhura said 53-year-old Deokaran provided crucial evidence relied on by the the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and disciplinary processes conducted by the Office of the Premier.

The premier said, as a result, her good deeds saw the institution of civil claims to recover public funds from businesses and government officials responsible for malfeasance and corruption.

Dishonest employees were found out and dismissed.

He said the perpetrators of “this brutal murder of an outstanding public servant must know that we have put in place all the necessary resources to find them and bring them to justice”.

Makhura added: “In honour of Babita Deokaran, we will do everything in our power to ensure that the perpetrators of corrupt tender processes and the callous killing of officials face the full might of the law.

“We will not be cowed down by criminal gangs who want to loot state resources.

“We are taking steps to protect officials who have become targets of threats, intimidation and wanton murder,” said Makhura.

The premier said a dedicated police task team has been established to hunt down the perpetrators of this gruesome murder.

“The Gauteng government continues to work with the SIU and other state institutions to uncover acts of corruption and ensure that public funds looted from the state are recovered,” said Makhura.

The provincial government is also working with civil society, organised labour, professional bodies, and business organisations to strengthen prevention, detection, and consequence management.

“We will not rest until our province is declared a corruption-free zone as well as a safe and ethical environment to live, work and do business in,” said Makhura.

Earlier, the premier accompanied by MEC’s for Health and Community Safety, Dr. Nomathemba Mokgethi and Faith Mazibuko, respectively, visited the family of Deokaran.

Makhura described Deokaran as a distinguished and exemplary public servant.

“On behalf of the provincial government, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Deokaran family and her colleagues in the Gauteng Department of Health,” said Makhura.

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