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Speculation of Gauteng 'Mafia' link to murder of Babita Deokaran

The murder of Gauteng Health whistle-blower Babita Deokaran in August may have been linked to a politically connected Gauteng mafia, Daily Maverick reports. And this week the Helen Suzman Foundation raised the possibility that health sector corruption may also have played a role in the death of one of their researchers, two years ago.

In the death of Arvitha Doodnath, in what was initially labelled a botched hijacking, the evidence looked suspiciously like assassination, and despite witnesses, said the Foundation, there appeared to be no progress in attempts to apprehend the killers. Doodnath was a Research Fellow, and a former legal researcher at the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF).

HSF director Francis Antonie paid tribute to Doodnath in a statement on Politicsweb, saying that the grief “at the tragic loss of a friend and dear colleague” was compounded by anger at the lack of progress or movement in the case.

“Arvitha's research interests focused on Health, Corruption and Policing. At the time of her death, we understand that she was working on highly sensitive issues related to corruption in the Health System. The motive for her murder has never been established.  We trust that the authorities will not simply abandon this case.”

A policing law lecturer at Vaal University of Technology, Doodnath was found dead inside her car in what initially was thought to be an attempted hijacking. Doodnath was shot dead after 9pm on Saturday at the intersection of Jan Smuts Avenue and Upper Park Drive, Westcliff. She was found dead in her bullet-riddled white Ford Figo. Nothing had been taken from the vehicle.


Doodnath’s murder had similarities to that of Gauteng Health’s acting chief financial officer and whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, who was shot and killed on 23 August. According to Daily Maverick, the intricate web of clues relating to who ordered her assassination was becoming more complex and showed possible links to a politically connected Gauteng mafia, say highly-placed sources who worked on an earlier investigation linked to the department.

Six men face charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. More charges will be added once the indictment has been finalised.

Deokaran was a key witness in an SIU probe into the R332m PPE scandal at Gauteng Health. Her witness statement, allegedly laying bare the money trail that implicates prominent individuals, appeared to be the motive for her murder, and could be linked to a scandal in the same department in 2011. An investigator who was part of the 2011 probe, said: “In 2011, the AFU recovered R1.5bn. It was the biggest recovery investigation into corruption at various government departments. Deokaran’s probe into the Gauteng PPE corruption is much wider. Her investigation showed a link between the 2011 probe and the latest investigation.”

This group, the source said, is allegedly behind Deokaran’s murder. One of the alleged mafia members apparently owns properties in Cape Town, Franschhoek and France.


Politicweb article – No arrests in Arvitha Doodnath murder – HSF (Open access)


Daily Maverick article – Possible ‘mafia’ link to murder of Babita Deokaran (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:



Gauteng Health whistleblower’s assassination was meticulously plotted



Assassination of whistleblowing Gauteng Health finance director



Gauteng Health murder suspect on full salary while behind bars



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