The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Monday said they were calling on the Minister of Police Bheki Cele to ensure that whistleblowers are provided with protection.
This comes after the reports that Thabiso Zulu, a whistleblower in the alleged tender corruption linked to the murder of Sindiso Magaqa was shot in a apparent assassination attempt outside Pietermarizburg.
Party spokesperson Blessed Gwala said the party believes that not protecting whistleblowers would seriously inhibit future disclosures and cause serious harm to the role of oversight to ensure good governance.
“Whistleblowers are a vital component of oversight in addressing serious malfeasance both within government and through out the private sector.
“However, whistleblowers are those who reveal misconduct or unethical policies in the public interest, and their important role in keeping government honest is recognised in laws that provide protection from retaliation for their disclosures,” said Gwala.
He said in South Africa, whistleblowers were highly vulnerable to retaliation for exposing corruption.
“We are also concerned about the issue of Fikile Hlatshwayo Rouget, another whistleblower who was dismissed in 2013 from her senior management position by the KZN treasury after she made a protected disclosure regarding suspected corruption in the Durban North Sea Jazz festival where millions were paid to event organisers, but the event never took place. Since then her life is at risk, government has failed and rejected her like Thabiso Zulu.”
Gwala said whistle blowing was an essential element for any successful anti-corruption strategy and activity. The IFP believes that without whistleblowing it was impossible to detect instances and cases of corruption.
He said authorities in South Africa should actually change course of action otherwise the level of good governance in the country would never improve and the country’s development goals will not easily be achieved.
“Whistleblowers require more protection to encourage them to speak out about wrongdoings after a string of scandals across the public and private sectors. Reports into public scandals and tragedies reveal that those who would wish to blow the whistle are prevented or discouraged from so doing and that those who have blown the whistle are not listened to or are punished and even killed.
“They play a crucial role when it comes to fighting money laundering, fraud or corruption. We have to weigh carefully what is the best way forward and on which level we should act to better protect them.”
“We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. When someone becomes a whistleblower, they’re making a serious, conscious decision,” said Gwala.