Slain Gauteng health official was a SIU witness in PPE investigation

Allegations of PPE tender corruption have rocked the Gauteng health department.
Image: 123RF/Oksana Smyshliaeva

Senior Gauteng health department financial officer Babita Deokaran, who was gunned down outside her Johannesburg South home on Monday, was a witness in the Special Investigating Unit’s probe into PPE purchase irregularities.

Police on Monday said 53-year-old Deokaran, who died in hospital, was shot outside her home in Mondeor shortly after dropping her daughter at school.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, speaking to TimesLIVE, confirmed that Deokaran was a witness in their investigation into the Gauteng PPE scandal.

“She was one of 300 witnesses who we have in the case. At this point in time we are giving the police the space they need to investigate and establish the motive for the killing.

“While we view what has happened in a very serious light and are very concerned by the murder of one of the witnesses in our case, we cannot yet attribute it to the investigation that we were conducting.”

He said that Deokaran’s murder would not jeopardise the investigation.

“She was one of many witnesses who we were relying on in our investigation.”

Gauteng health department MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said in a statement that Deokaran, who she described as “invaluable”, worked as chief director of the financial accounting department.

“She at times acted as the CFO.”

By Graeme Hosken – TimesLIVE