South Africa News

Outa calls for justice for whistleblower Babita Deokaran

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa)’s Wayne Duvenage has called on the highest echelons of government to ensure that justice is served for whistleblower Babita Deokaran’s murder.

In the twelve months since Deokaran’s murder, the only suspects who’ve been arrested are six alleged hitmen. The mastermind still hasn’t been nabbed.

A recent News24 investigation, meanwhile, has revealed that in the weeks leading up to her death, Deokaran flagged R850 million’s worth of dodgy payments out of Thembisa Hospital and that she was scared for her safety.

Nothing was done at the time but following the reports, Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office has now instituted an independent forensic investigation.

There are no criminal investigations under way yet though.

Duvenage was one of the speakers at a memorial for Deokaran which the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation hosted on Tuesday night, on the one-year anniversary of her death.

He lauded the media’s work to reveal the graft that Deokaran had uncovered in the weeks leading up to her death.

He added that investigative journalism was vitally important.

“But what worries us is that nothing is happening. While the assassins, who have been apprehended, may have pulled the trigger but the people behind this ghastly, atrocious death and passing of Babita are still walking free. They’re the ones that need to be held accountable,” Duvenage said.

He said that Deokaran’s murder has had a chilling effect on other whistleblowers.

“We know that since Babita’s death, we’ve had a number of cases where we were working with whistleblowers who pulled back, who were afraid to go down the same road as Babita. And that is sad because whistleblowers are so critical to the fight against corruption. We are poorer as a nation with every single individual who speaks up and is pushed aside, suspended, closed down, whose livelihoods are wrecked or whose lives are lost. We cannot afford this to happen anymore,” he said.

And he’s called on the powers that be, and specifically, the Presidency to “do the real work that has to be done”, saying that forensic reporting and investigations should have started the day after Deokaran’s death.

-EWN

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Thuthuka Mthembu

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