In the latest Babita Ducaran murder trial, the six men accused of the crime appeared briefly in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday 17 July.
However, Judge Motsami Makumi postponed the proceedings to August 7 because one of the defense attorneys was allegedly ill and the legal teams needed additional time to consult the defendants.
The trial had previously been postponed in 2022 after the previous legal team representing the six defendants, headed by Shafik Sarli, withdrew from the case citing the “financial limitations of the defendants and their families and friends.”
Read more at The Daily Maverick: A year after the assassination of Babita Ducaran, the trial of six accused has slowly begun
The case returned to court on November 18, 2022 and the court has ordered the defense to clarify who will represent whom at the next court appearance.
On 18 November 2022, three new lawyers were introduced to the Johannesburg High Court for the defense of the six accused: Vakamani Vincent Hadbi, Nhlangan Vinda Ndlovu, Sanil Mbele, Sekhaniswa Dladla, Zita Radebe and Sifwe Thapan Mazebuku.
The six face charges of murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The attempted murder count relates to a person who was in Deokoran’s car at the time of the shooting.
Although the Hawks family has previously insisted that more arrests were imminent after the six defendants carried out Court’s first appearance Almost two years later, the six men remain the only suspects before the court. The alleged mastermind of the assassination has not yet been identified.
The murder case of Babita Ducaran was scheduled to be heard on 17 July 2023 for a period of four months.
Commenting on the postponement, Ali Gul, who works for Ota, said they were concerned that the Deokoran case was teetering on, like the Senzo Meyiwa trial.
“Eventually perhaps justice will be done but at the moment there is concern that there are glitches in terms of starting the case. We don’t know what the problem is. We will use Babita’s case as part of our campaign to promote and protect whistleblowers in the country. Remember Babita was a single mother. I left a 17-year-old girl and now she’s on matric. I don’t think she’s in a good place. But the family needs closure and we need justice for Babita too.”
Gul’s comments came against the backdrop of Ota’s rally outside the Johannesburg High Court on Monday, calling on the government to support the Dhukkaran family and expedite the case.
The six men remain in detention without bail. DM