It’s a year since whistleblower Babita Deokaran was gunned down as she was leaving home. Yesterday the Gauteng premier confirmed an independent probe into her murder, but this comes on the back of an investigation by News24. An investigative journalist at News24, Jeff Wicks discussed this with eNCA's Sally Burdett. Courtesy of #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - A year after whistleblower Babita Deokaran was gunned down while leaving her house, details around the motive for her killing remain murky.
At the time, she had been probing spending at Thembisa hospital.
On Monday, the Gauteng premier confirmed an independent probe into her murder, but this comes on the back of an investigation by News24.
Investigative journalist Jeff Wicks and his team have been working through a trail of internal Gauteng department of health emails to find out the full story.
He says these have now cast light on a scandal that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
"What's key in those emails is it plots out a very important timeline. It tells us that Babita Deokaran a little more than a month before she was killed first stumbled across this massive surge in payments out of Tembisa hospital, and when I surge I mean hundreds of millions of rands and outstripped much larger facilities in the province," Wicks said.
"When she looked at where this money was going, and I talk about the companies or the recipients of these contracts, she found that very few had public presences and some had very obscure names.
"And then what also raised the alarm, and we've seen it from the correspondence, is that the amounts of the payments is crucial - all are between R400,000 and R500,000 and that's important because that allows procurement to take place at a hospital level.
"Anything above that threshold requires much more rigorous procurement process and one that's public. But that way in which these payments surged out of that hospital and the amounts was what set her on the trail," he said.
"What we've done now is we've gone through these emails and we continue to process them and we're trying to finish what she started.
"We're connecting the dots from 217 companies that she flagged doing business with the hospital and that is something that until today has never been investigated."