Johannesburg- The daughter of slain Gauteng department of health official Babita Deokaran’s has, against all odds, aced her grade 10 exams, with the family saying she has displayed great courage in the face of the public killing of her heroic mother.
Deokaran was gunned down on August 23 in front of her home in Winchester Hills, Johannesburg after dropping off the 17-year-old at school.
The state contends Babita’s murder was politically motivated.
Deokaran, a chief director of financial accounting in the department at the time of her death, is said to have been a whistleblower in a R332-million personal protective equipment scandal at the department.
Her brother, Rakesh Deokaran, said Babita’s daughter had the full support of the family to pull through and focus on her studies while mourning.
Rakesh was the one who had to fetch Babita’s daughter from school on that fateful day and break the devastating news.
“It has been a tough situation for us as a family to deal with what happened to Babita, and we had to hold hands to support each other, especially her daughter, who had to write her exams under the difficult situation of losing her mother in such a manner.
“The child is pulling through and we are grateful that she has managed to be focused under the difficult circumstances and made us and her mother proud by passing grade 10.
“We are taking her to psychologists in the new year to prepare her for the new academic year and also to make sure that she doesn’t get distracted by anything, as her mother’s killing has disturbed her badly,” said Rakesh.
Her alleged assassins – Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Radebe, Phinda Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Siphakanyiswa Dladla – have been unsuccessful in their attempts to get bail since they were apprehended days after the slaying.
However, the mastermind behind the killing is yet to be arrested.
Rakesh said that the family would also like to thank South Africans for supporting them through difficult times, adding that they needed to see justice for what happened to Babita.
“We want harsh punishment for those who murdered my sister.
It’s a difficult situation for us to deal with as we are still anxious to get clarity and answers on what led to Babita’s death. We will be spending our first Christmas without her.
However, her legacy will forever live with us.”
Babita and three other courageous South Africans were last week honoured at this year’s international Blueprint Whistleblowing Awards.
Babita was the recipient of a posthumous Special Recognition Award at the 2021 prize-giving.
The awards were hosted by the global non-profit Blueprint for Free Speech, which focuses on research in and support for freedom of expression.