Killing of whistleblowers a coward act, says PSC

The Public Service Commission says it has noted with shock the recent media reports regarding the brutal killing of senior officials at the Gauteng Department of Health, Babita Deokaran, on Monday.

The PSC has extended its condolences to the Deokaran family for their tragic loss.

“It is sad that this incident takes place during Women’s Month. Even sadder, is the fact that Deokaran was not only an employee of the Department of Health in Gauteng but she was a mother first and foremost and this cruel act has resulted in a child losing her mother,” the Public Service Commission said in a statement.

It came to the knowledge of the PSC that Deokaran was a key witness in the Special Investigating Unit’s probe into, among others, fraudulent COVID-19 PPE contracts.

“To the extent that Deokaran’ s death is linked to her involvement with the SIU probe, the PSC views her killing as an attack not only on whistleblowers, but on the professionalisation of the public service as a whole.

“The attack on her is part of an orchestrated campaign by forces of darkness in South Africa, who are doing what they can to ensure that the public service is inefficient and ineffective. They are undermining the code of conduct which calls for a high standard of professional ethics in the public service,” PSC said.

The commission encouraged all public servants and members of the public not to be intimidated and silenced by such coward acts but to continue, in accordance with the code of conduct, to report any irregularities and maladministration to the relevant law enforcement and oversight bodies through the channels created.

“It is only through dedication and ethical conduct that the tide of lawlessness and corruption will be stemmed in pursuance of a South Africa free from crime and corruption serving the people of the country.

“This incident once again highlights the vulnerability of whistleblowers and the PSC appeals to all law enforcement agencies to take note of this tragic incident and to strengthen measures to ensure the safety of all persons who take courage to report maladministration and corruption,” the PSC said.

Source: South African Government News Agency