by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the killing of whistle-blowers as South Africa contends with the scourge of corruption.
Ramaphosa’s sentiments, carried in his weekly letter delivered on Monday, came days after the murder of Babita Deokaran, a senior finance official in the Gauteng health department.
He denounced it as a stark reminder of the high stakes involved in the country’s collective quest to remove corruption from society.
“While we do not yet know the motive for her murder, she was a key witness in a SIU investigation into the procurement of personal protective equipment in the department,” Ramaphosa wrote.
Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is to the state’s forensic investigation and litigation agency.
Ramaphosa lamented that witnesses were being threatened, their families intimidated and individuals forced into hiding.
Police and the private security have apprehended seven suspects behind Deokaran’s murder.
The president said regardless of the circumstances behind the tragedy, Deokaran was a hero and a patriot.
“As are the legions of whistleblowers who, at great risk to themselves, help to unearth instances of misdeeds, maladministration, cronyism and theft.
“Without their brave and principled interventions we would be unable to unmask those committing corruption,” said Ramaphosa.
“Though much focus in recent times has been on whistle-blowers in the public sector, we also owe a debt of gratitude to those in the private sector whose actions receive less attention, but are equally important.”
Ramaphosa said South Africans, would not be intimidated.
“Those behind the killing of witnesses and whistleblowers will be arrested and face the might of the law, as will all who are found guilty of the very corruption these assassins are trying to cover up.”
It is three years since the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture started its work.
– CAJ News