The murdered whistleblower Babita Deakaran was remembered for her courage.

  • The non-governmental organization reported attacks on informants.
  • The organization mourned the murders of Babita Deakaran and Lindakule Mnguni.
  • It says those who are bent on corruption are favored in South Africa.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) that advocates good governance has spoken out about attacks on whistleblowers.

The South African Institute for Responsive and Accountable Governance (Sairag) has highlighted the murder of Babita Deakaran and the chairman of Abahlali Mondolo commune, Lindakule Mnguni.

Deakaran was remembered in an emotional memorial this week, a year after she was shot dead after taking her child to school.

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On Saturday morning, Mnguni, who was a prominent social activist and leader in KwaZulu-Natal, was shot dead.

Sairag chairman Celisa Tipanyane said those who speak “truth to power find themselves deprived of the protection and benefit of the law”.

READ | ‘We expected more’: Babita Deakaran’s killing and government inaction cover Mahura and Ramaphosa’s shame

Tipanyane described Mnguni as a dedicated leader in Durban’s Kato Manor area, where he represented shack dwellers.

This is the third leader of the commune killed this year.

Mnguni spoke at the funeral of Ayanda Ngila, the deputy chairman of Abahlali, who was killed on March 8.

Ngila’s death was followed by the assassination of Nokuthula Mabaso on 5 May.

Mabaso, who has been described as “another fearless leader”, was due to testify against Ngila’s alleged killer in court. She was killed in front of her children by gunmen who shot her six times.

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“The ongoing concerted attempt to destabilize and destroy the base of Abahlali Mondola shows how terrifying this progressive grassroots movement is.

“Obahlali, in the face of fierce resistance, continued to fight for the landless, creating communes where those excluded from the formal economy found recognition and inclusion,” Tipanyane said.

He said that the communes created by Abahlali “are truly a model of people’s power, where words are meaningless and actions speak for them.”

READ | Babita Deakaran: She died ‘doing the right thing’ – family remembers whistleblower a year on

“Sairag believes that the continued killing of the leaders of this internationally recognized and revolutionary organization can be nothing but politically motivated and sanctioned.

“At a time when human rights defenders and whistleblowers across the country are under attack, it is unfortunately not surprising that comrades Abahlali do not enjoy the protection or benefits of the law.”

Tipanyane said:

Saddened by the attacks on the likes of Babita Deakaran, whose assassination anniversary we marked [on Wednesday]Sairag is forced to conclude that the law is only for those who bow their knees to corruption and bribery.

Tipanyane praised the efforts of the Abahlali Mondola base to fight for land and housing for the poor.

“They did this in the face of a concerted campaign to terminate them and at great cost to themselves and their families. Their courage and principled stand in the face of death reminds us of those who went before and who were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.”

Gauteng health authorities only launched an investigation into Deokaran’s work following an investigation by News24.

The department has since come under fire after an investigation revealed shocking misuse of public funds amounting to hundreds of millions of rand.


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