Police hunt killers of Gauteng health dept official who was witness in PPE corruption probe

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Babita Deokaran.
Babita Deokaran.
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Gauteng police have launched a manhunt following the shooting of a provincial health department official outside her Johannesburg home on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) revealed that Babita Deokaran, the chief director of financial accounting at the Gauteng Department of Health, was a witness in one of the SIU's investigations into corruption in the awarding of tenders for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Deokaran was shot several times outside her Mondeor home after dropping off her child at school on Monday morning.

In a statement issued on Monday, the department said Deokaran had died in hospital several hours after the shooting.

In a brief statement, police said the motive for the incident was unknown and no arrests had yet been made.

Police officers returned to the scene on Tuesday.

News24 could see officers in unmarked vehicles inside the complex where Deokaran lived.

READ HERE | Kind, committed, honest: Family devastated after Gauteng official killed in hail of bullets

It's unclear if anything had been taken from Deokaran in the incident.

The SIU said there was as yet no link between the shooting and Deokaran's involvement in its investigation as a witness.

The unit is said to have about 300 witnesses in its case.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told Newzroom Afrika that all their witnesses "are very crucial" as they form part of the investigation.

Kganyago didn't specify what Deokaran's evidence would deal with.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said Deokaran was an "invaluable" member of the department's team who "rose up the ranks" in the public service "in the last three decades".

The MEC has called on the authorities "to leave no stone unturned" as they probe the murder.


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