No more empty promises about Babita. SA wants the ‘real killers’ ...

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No more empty promises about Babita. SA wants the ‘real killers’ nabbed

Six men have been arrested for whistle-blower Babita Deokaran’s murder, but the true evil lies with those who hired them

Columnist

Every now and again the clock stops ticking. We pause. We shake our heads in disbelief. We try to make sense of the senseless. It happened with the rape of nine-month-old Baby Tshepang in 2001; the starvation of Deborah Phehla, one of the Life Esidimeni patients, whose post mortem revealed plastic and brown paper in her stomach; and now the assassination of Babita Deokaran, a known whistle-blower in a corrupt government department.

Her death has really shaken whatever still remains of our trust in the government, our sense of personal and familial security, and our already dimming hopes for the future of SA. It comes on top of other traumas. Covid-19 deaths among friends and family. The stripping of malls and terrifying killings in an orgy of mass looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The frightening unemployment numbers, the highest in the world by some measures.

I scrutinised the faces of Deokaran’s six alleged assassins as they stood in the dock, trying hard to extract from their video and printed images something that might help me to understand the depths of human depravity. They are all black men in their mid to late 20s. A well-known trawler on Twitter makes the simple statement that all six men are from KwaZulu-Natal. He knows what he’s doing. Is there something in this beautiful and wretched province that can aid explanation given its history of bloody killings, from the terror of pre-colonial times to the barbarity of the British colonialists, from the interparty murdering spree between the ANC and the IFP, aided and abetted by the apartheid security forces, to present-day rent-an-assassin schemes where a few thousand rand can dispose of an enemy just like that?..

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