The family of the late Babita Deokaran calls for protection for Director-General in the Presidency Phindile Baleni following death threats.
The family of assassinated whistleblower Babita Deokaran said they hoped protection would be provided to Director-General in the Presidency Phindile Baleni after she received a letter and bullet in her mailbox at home.
Parts of the letter threatening Baleni asked her to advise authorities to release suspects involved in Deokaran’s murder, and to ask the president not to proceed with state capture-related findings.
“The family of Babita Deokaran are aware of the threats made against the Director-General… We trust that she will receive full protection from our government and that no other lives will be lost in the fight against corruption,” the family said in a statement on Sunday.
They added that the threat confirmed to them that the arrested suspects were indeed part of a plan to kill Deokaran.
“This has given us confidence that the suspects who have been arrested for the murder of Babita are the people responsible. We have full faith in our justice system and know that justice will be served and those responsible will face the full brunt of the law.”
Deokaran had been a critical witness for the Special Investigating Unit, with News24 previously reporting sources saying she had provided evidence in more than 100 investigations relating to corruption within the provincial health department.
The presidency on Saturday said it escalated Baleni’s incident to security agencies.
Presidential spokesperson Vincent Mangwenya said the threats came from a “person or persons who seemingly want to affect the presidency’s processing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry findings into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector including organs of state”.
Deokaran was gunned down outside her home in Mondeor, Johannesburg, last August after dropping her daughter off at school.
Magwenya said Baleni was receiving protection to enable her to continue her critical duties, including those of being Cabinet Secretary and convenor of the Forum of South African Directors-General.
“The fight against crime and corruption will be unaffected by this threat against Baleni,” said Magwenya at the time.