Deokaran Murder: Bail Hearing Postponed

The bail hearing of six men accused of the murder of Babita Deokaran, a Gauteng health official and corruption whistleblower, has been postponed to the beginning of next month.

Protesters had gathered outside the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, but the bail hearing was postponed to 1 October after the brief hearing.

Defence lawyers for the accused – Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Simphiwe Mazibuko, and Phakanyiswa Dladla – requested more time to consult their clients.

The lawyers told the court they were experiencing difficulties in speaking to their clients at Johannesburg Prison, where they communicate through a bulletproof glass partition. Time limitations and language problems were also cited.

The lawyers complained about the lack of an interpreter.

For its part, the state also said it needed more time to complete its investigations.

Action SA and OUTA have both called for better protection of whistleblowers.

Initially, seven men were arrested for last month’s callous shooting of the 53-year-old Deokaran outside her home on 23 August 2021.

One of the accused has since been released because he could not be linked to the dastardly deed.

“The accused were arrested on 26 August in Rosettenville, with a seventh suspect who was not charged due to lack of evidence against him,” explained the National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane at the time.

All six murder accused were remanded in custody on Monday.

They also face attempted murder charges because Deokaran was with another person in her car when several shots were fired at her. The person was unharmed.

Other charges include the possession of illegal weapons and ammunition.