Six people accused of murdering whistleblower Babita Deakaran made another brief appearance in court on Thursday.

FILE: Six suspects in Babita Deakaran’s murder make their first court appearance Aug. 30, 2021. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – The six men accused of murdering Babita Deakaran have a new legal team.

The men reappeared in the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday morning after their previous lawyer withdrew from the case due to the men’s financial constraints.

Deakaran was murdered outside her home in southern Johannesburg in August last year.

She was a whistleblower in the Gauteng Department of Health that recently uncovered dodgy payments from Tembisa Hospital worth hundreds of millions of rand.

Six alleged killers were arrested and charged with her murder.

But the mastermind remains in the wind.

The last two adjournments were made for the suspects’ legal team, led by Shafiq Sarli, to finalize their financial instructions and for the accused to allocate funds for the trial.

On Thursday, the court learned that this has not yet been done. The men now have a new lawyer, Bongani Zulu, as well as two new lawyers, Sanele Sibisi and Cyril Mlotshwa.

The case was adjourned, so a copy of the report can be provided to a new group of human rights defenders.

The case will return to court on November 18. The court obliged the defense to explain who is representing whom at the next hearing.

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