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Whistle-blowing effective tool to root out corruption-DG Makhasi

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Public Service and Administration Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi says without whistle-blowers, it will be difficult to detect all forms of corrupt activities in both the private and public service space.

Speaking at the regional Workshop on Transforming Societies through Anti- Corruption Innovation in Public Procurement and Whistle-blower Protection in Cape Town ON 09 February 2022, Ms Makhasi said the country’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy placed the whistle-blower protection high on the agenda.

“Whistle-blowing is a powerful tool in the fight against corruption, without which it will be difficult to detect unethical behaviour, corruption or maladministration. Now of late, treatment of whistle-blowers in South Africa leaves much to be desired,” she said.

Challenges identified

The DPSA Director-General said legislation places responsibility on whistle-blower to take court action to protect his/her rights, adding that there are no effective criminal sanctions for serious transgressions of the legislation by employers.

“Lack of ability to make disclosures anonymously / confidentially. Consequently, focus is on the whistle-blower rather than the matter being reported.

“Often reports of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline are referred back to Departments for investigation; and generally, there are not enough protection measures,” she said.

Solutions

As part of solution, Ms Makhasi said there should be improvement on the provisions of the current legislation (PDA); that a central reporting agency/whistle-blower agency (also contained in the NACS) must be created.

“We must also create a culture of whistleblowing at institutional level…including government departments, this must be done to create safer disclosure platforms (confidential); monitor and review the effectiveness of existing hotlines,” she said.