EDITORIAL | Babita Deokaran’s death cannot be written off as ...

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EDITORIAL | Babita Deokaran’s death cannot be written off as collateral damage

People who have the courage to step forward as witnesses against crime and corruption deserve full protection

Editorial

In the 2004 thriller Collateral by director Michael Mann, Max (Jamie Foxx) must stop hitman Vincent (Tom Cruise), who is on a mission to kill witnesses in a case that was about to go on trial. His courage eludes him until a number of witnesses are brutally murdered. Eventually, justice prevails. 

But that is what happened in a movie. For the family of Babita Deokaran, a finance chief director in the Gauteng department of health and a witness in a corruption case, her cold-blooded murder this week is not a twist made for cinema — it is a painful, lived reality. The 53-year-old was killed after dropping off her daughter at a school in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg. For that daughter, Deokaran was a loving mother. Now her mother will never be able to take her to school. Ever. 

The Special Investigating Unit confirmed to TimesLIVE that Deokaran was a witness in a case involving some criminals in suits, who stole funds earmarked for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) last year, as the country battled to respond to a global health pandemic...

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