Why The Whistle-blowers Don’t Last

Despite every person in South Africa having the right to a local government that functions well by providing basic services without any complications- corruption has defeated the chance of government ever being able to fulfill it’s role in the delivery of basic services. Whistle-blowers are important for the uprooting of the ills. When a Whistle-blower exposes the rot in the system it comes at a cost, because their lives are constantly in danger. Even when they did the right thing they find themselves subjected to punishment, constant harassment, permanent silence or being exiled.

It is no secret that the blowers do not last, if they do not disappear they are exiled and frustrated. This happens despite South Africa having a Whistle-blower protection strategy because it was never designed to accommodate everyone,leaving many whistleblowers vulnerable. The only ones that actually get to enjoy protection are lucky – however the luck is short-lived because the protection is limited. There are those who are protected against employment detriment, which is when your employer fires you for blowing the horn. There is also another form of protection called the Witness Protection Act, which operates within criminal ranks leaving many in a sticky position, because citizen whistleblowers have no form of protection.

Whistle-blowers are among the most vulnerable in this country, yet their security isn’t beefed up. As a society ours is to ensure they feel our support and that the loneliness doesn’t get to them, ours as citizens is to not only affirm our stance on dealing with corruption but to also play our part in being agents of change and transformation in our communities. Our activism can not be limited to social media only. Because the whistleblowers are sounding the alarm on the ills of the system and our leaders.

We need to acknowledge that without the Whistle-blower there is no combating corruption and this puts them in a very sensitive position. Because in most cases the allegations implicate senior officials and businesses and are backed by facts.

The arrogance and ignorance displayed by the minister of police in recent events is way too loud for us to look the other way. There has been an increase in crime and a decrease in jailing the perpetrators. How are we to have faith in the leadership of a minister who is seriously implicated in things that weaken the public’s trust in the police and the intelligence of our country? The Whistle-blower who blew the whistle back in 2009 was frustrated for doing so and eventually dismissed last year for doing what any good citizen would do, instead of showing an interest in at-least distancing his department from the allegations, the man is arrogant. Faith in the NPA continues to trickle down, people would rather use other channels to sound the alarm because we can’t trust the NPA or the hawks. This is understandable due to the two establishments close links to senior politicians who can influence how things go behind closed doors. The NPA is far from being objective, instead of ensuring the perpetrators or exposed are disciplined – if you’re a fav noise shall cease to exist and the tabloids will refrain from pushing stories that speak on it. The focus shifts from the rot being exposed and we see the discrediting of the whistleblowers allegations by the implicated without the taking of action. Then suddenly they disappear or the script is flipped and the blower is a law-breaker.

The blowers don’t last because, whistleblowers aren’t safe in this country that encourages them for their work.

Remember the late Moss Phakoe- a Councillor in the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality of North West, who was shot in 2009 not long after he blew the whistle on corruption done by councillors and officials? For More Visit

Remember the late Sindiso Magaqa- an ANC Councillor and the former Secretary General of the ANCYL who was shot in 2017 while parking his car at home in uMzimkhulu not long after he blew the whistle on corruption within the municipality? For More: Visit

Remember the late Marumo Eric Phenya- a Businessman who was gunned down near his home in the West Rand by hitmen because he and his associates blew the whistle on corruption in Government? He was taken out even after the public learnt of a case being opened at the SAPS after threats were being made. For More: Visit

Remember the late Babita Deokaran- a director of financial accounting in the department of health in Gauteng, who was gunned down outside her home after she blew the whistle on the corruption in PPE tenders? For More: Visit

The state failed these people and their families, it failed to protect them and many others despite knowing that they blew the whistle on corruption. What is more disturbing about Babita’s case is the airtime government enjoyed when it still sold off the shelves. Despite her death being similar to those of the previous ones, the state failed to stop a cycle from repeating itself. Minister in the Presidency, said that the protection of whistleblowers came in the spotlight after Babita’s assassination. This was followed by a few more utterances that were made to fool the public into thinking something was being done. Parliament made sure to assure the public on how it was working to ensure that the protection of whistleblowers be a serious thing and that the killers would be found and dealt with. Would it be fair to promise and affirm something you know you aren’t worthy of? What good is a justice that is scripted and designed to protect the implicated? Why say their safety is non-negotiable when in actual fact it matters not to you? If it isn’t the ministers, its the President himself commending them for their work and assuring them about their safety being a priority- when nothing is happening.

Here are possible solutions to this problem:
1. Parliament needs to amend its definition of protected disclosures and make it inclusive to all including those who don’t have links to the implicated ones.
2.The witness protection act needs to be changed in a way that it includes those whose lives are in danger due to their witness status in exposing crime.
3.Instead of talking, actually amend parts of legislation so that the protection of whistleblowers is improved.
4.Develop an institution that will oversee the protection of whistleblowers.

The implicated ones must know that the public is watching and they must desist from wanting to silence or harm those who blew the whistle, unmasking the veil of deception the corrupt ones had us swimming in, because that would be them slapping us in the face all over again. The Blowers Don’t Last, because little or nothing is done to keep them or their families safe, and those who make it out alive are exiled and frustrated because the state failed to do its part.