Babita Deokaran: Citizenship of one of the accused called into question

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The six men charged with the murder of Gauteng health department official Babita Deokaran appear in court.
The six men charged with the murder of Gauteng health department official Babita Deokaran appear in court.
Isabel Venter
  • The six men charged with the murder of Babita Deokaran were back in court on Thursday.
  • The court accepted an affidavit from the mother of one of the accused confirming that he was born in South Africa after his citizenship came into question.
  • Bail judgment will be handed down on 20 December.

Judgment has been reserved in the bail application of the six men charged with the murder of Gauteng health department official Babita Deokaran.

Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Radebe, Hlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Siphakanyiswa Dladla were back in the dock on Thursday, after the matter was postponed to verify Ndlovu's citizenship status.

According to the State, Ndlovu told police that he was a Zimbabwean national at the time of his arrest. However, the defence has since ascertained that he is South African. 

The defence read out an affidavit from Ndlovu's mother that confirms that he was born in Weenen in KwaZulu-Natal, and that he left the area in August 2021 to come to Johannesburg. The State and the defence then accepted that Ndlovu is indeed South African.

During closing arguments last week, the defence questioned the strength of the State's case and highlighted that the BMW allegedly used as the getaway car had not been found.

READ | EXCLUSIVE: Babita Deokaran 'hitman' lied in bail bid, more charges coming

Their lawyer Peter Wilkins also questioned why the alleged R400 000 they were paid had not been yet traced. 

In response, prosecutor Steven Rubin said the defence did not understand the purpose of a bail court and that these issues would be dealt with at trial.

Deokaran was gunned down outside her home in Mondeor in August after dropping her daughter off at school.

The six men have been charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possessing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The bail application has been running for over a month has seen some explosive allegations and confessions that have since been disputed. In a disputed confession, Hadebe allegedly named former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize as their paymaster.

In a statement, Mkhize denied this. 

Magistrate Simon Sibanyoni is expected to hand down judgment on 20 December. 

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