The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it has moral and constitutional obligations to ensure that whistleblowers are protected because of the important role they play in fighting corruption.
The SAHRC has spent about R4 million in taking up cases related to the safety and security of whistleblowers in the country.
The Commission has approached the National Treasury to seek funding to support the protection of whistleblowers.
The SAHRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Tseliso Thipanyane, explains:
“We have taken two cases to court. And then we have approached the Treasury to give us some money around issues of whistleblowers. We had two summits this year on whistle blowers including whistleblowers themselves as well as the number of bodies, constitutional bodies, which are listed in the Public Interest Disclosures Act to see how we can work together to address the challenges that the whistleblowers are facing and the impact and the role whistle blowers play in the fight against corruption and abuse of power.”
Concerns over safety of whistleblowers
Since the release of the State Capture Inquiry report, concerns once again emerged about the safety of whistleblowers, who provided key testimony at the Commission.
Two prominent whistleblowers – Johann van Loggerenberg who is a former South African Revenue Service (SARS) executive, and former GCIS boss Themba Maseko, were burgled in January following the report release.
The incidents triggered alarm among other whistleblowers who have questioned the timing of these incidents.
The former head of legal services at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Martha Ngoye, who also testified before the commission says she feels unprotected.
“We are very close to all the other whistleblowers. So anything that happens to any one of us, affects the entire team. I think what is concerning is that these are actually coming out more now after the evidence has been given.”
“The fact that these witnesses were not attacked at the time of giving evidence, so one does not understand what the modus operandi is of these people. It is concerning that we are faced with these attacks that are happening,” adds Ngoye.
State Capture Report | Report calls for protection of whistleblowers