A lack of consultation time between lawyers and six men accused of the Gauteng Health Department’s murder of whistleblower Babita Deokaran led to their application for bail being postponed on Monday.
Phakamani Hadebe, Zita Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla appeared briefly in a crowded courtroom 14 of Johannesburg District Court. They are accused of murdering Deokaran outside their home south of Johannesburg last month.
Her attorney Shafique Sarlie argued before Judge Simon Sibanyoni that he had only advised his clients twice since they first appeared in court last month.
“The correctional department only allows lawyers to consult with their clients on Fridays and then only between 10am and 2pm, with deliberations usually starting an hour later,” he said.
< p> “The consultations take place through bulletproof glass via intercom systems. In these circumstances, the use of interpreters is incredibly difficult. ”
Sibanyoni postponed the bail request to October 1st and 5th.
Phindi Mjonondwane, spokesman for the National Prosecutor, said that the state was prepared to apply for the deposit. “This shift is not a problem for us. That gives us time for any additional work that needs to be done. ”
At the time of Deokaran’s death, she was working in the department’s finance office and witnessed a special investigation team’s investigation into R332 Irregularities in the procurement of PPE tenders in Covid-19.
Demonstrators from the Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and ActionSA organization protested in front of the courthouse, waving posters and demanding that bail be refused.