Whistleblowers require more support and resources, says expert

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Whistleblowing concept: Black keyboard with a red key and the whistleblower word. PHOTO: iStock

The Whistleblower House yesterday welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statements in his response to the Zondo commission regarding the “protection and incentives for whistleblowers”.

Protection for whistleblowers
‘Actions fall short’

Ramaphosa’s proposed actions included a review of the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to ensure:

  • Whistleblowers receive necessary protection;
  • The possible award to the whistleblower of a proportion of funds recovered; and
  • Whistleblowers be afforded immunity from criminal or civil action arising from honest disclosures.

“We are especially heartened by the firm deadline of April 2023 given to the Anti-Corruption Advisory Council for these actions as it demonstrates the urgency and importance of, inter alia, protecting whistleblowers,” the Whistleblower House executive director Ben Theron said.

“However, the recommendations and proposed actions fall short of the actual needs faced by whistleblowers.”

“We have consulted and researched the challenges whistleblowers face and have developed a holistic range of services that could and should be offered by government.

“These include facilitating access for whistleblowers to legal advice, health services (including psychological), financial assistance and safe accommodation.

“The dire need for these services is emphasised by the fact that The Whistleblower House has, since February 2022, assisted 91 whistleblowers and their families, where needed, with access to said services.

“We are geared to support many more whistleblowers on their journey before, and after, they come forward with vital information to fight and eradicate corruption in our young democracy,” said Theron.

Ramaphosa said government was “indebted to the many courageous and brave whistleblowers who brought various allegations of fraud and corruption to the attention of the public protector and those who gave evidence at the state capture commission”.

The Citizen