In 2020, the Cabinet approved the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), which has become a blueprint for the country in terms of the approach to fight corruption. The NACS has six pillars and one of those pillars emphasize the need to promote and encourage active citizenry, whistleblowing, integrity and transparency in all spheres of society. It further says that our citizens will always act with integrity and will not be hindered to act against corrupt individuals through whistleblowing and other measures that promote transparency and accountability.
The NACS has adopted “a whole of government and society approach” in the fight against corruption. This approach requires all sectors of the society (public, business, civil society, religious and traditional) to play an active role in improving anti-corruption and integrity regulations. The success of the fight against corruption is largely dependent on whistleblowers who continuously detect and report acts of malfeasance in all sectors of the society. However, the threats and perceived poor protection of whistleblowers remains a big challenge in the fight against corruption.
It is against this background that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD), Government Communications & Information Services (GCIS) and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in collaboration with the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF), which was established as a results of the Presidential Health Summit 2018 is embarking on a series of webinars around the whistleblowing. The proposed webinars on whistleblowing will explore different thematic areas with diverse subject matter experts from public, business and civil society. These whistleblowing thematic areas will include amongst others, the witness protection, understanding of how whistleblowing works, whistleblowing regulation and legal framework, to mention just a few.
Whistleblowing Webinar Objective
- To create public awareness on whistleblowing and witness protection.
- To improve public education on whistleblowing and witness protection.
Broad theme: Whistleblowing and witness protection in South Africa
- Reporting and blowing whistle against corruption is everyone’s responsibility
- Protect whistle-blowers from victimization and threats
- Whistleblowing is important to detect corruption
- Protect your identity through anonymous reporting of corruption
- Report threats and intimidation against whistle-blowers immediately to relevant authorities, including SAPS
- Blow the whistle to promote transparency and accountability
- Apply for witness protection if you are a witness that believe your safety and/or that of dependency is threatened
Platform and Host
In the interests of attracting as many viewers as possible, and without the HSACF having to invest financially in streaming services or compensating hosts, it would be best to develop a partnership with a media houses to conduct the webinars. Using their reach, media houses will be able to advertise the event on their various online media channels, as well as offer a well-known journalist who focuses on and understand issues of whistleblowing as a host for the webinars.
Below are possible platforms that may be utilized to roll out webinars:
- The Corruption Watch
- The Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS)
The Daily Maverick, with Maverick Citizen Editor and health rights activist Mark Heywood as a host
Corruption is a global problem and happens in both developed and underdeveloped countries.
It is also a barrier to economic growth, and undermines trust in democratic institutions that are essential to development.
Moreover, it destabilises peace and security, especially in developing countries. Corruption in both the private and public sector has a detrimental effect on government’s effort to deliver effective services to the people.
In South Africa the fight against corruption is one of the major priorities of government. However, government cannot do it alone, and we partner with all sectors of society to play its part in stopping this scourge.
There are many instances where fraudulent or corrupt activates are only brought to light because members of the public did the right thing by reporting incidences of alleged corruption. Reporting or blowing the whistle on corruption is one of the duties of an active and responsible citizen.
|What is whistleblowing?
|· Whistleblowing is when a person passes on relevant and reliable information concerning wrongdoing, such as fraud and corruption.
· The other terms that are used are “blowing the whistle”, “making a disclosure”, or “making a whistleblowing report”.
· This activity is usually undertaken by a person who is closely associated with the organisation, often an employee, or a supplier or a customer.
· A person can be a whistle-blower when they suspect, witness or observe behaviour or actions that they believe to be illegal and report these suspicions to the relevant law enforcement agencies.
· This includes behaviour or action that is in contravention of financial management laws of the country.
|If you see something say something.
|· As a member of a public you can approach the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks), the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA), Financial Intelligence Centre and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
· When you have tangible evidence, you can pass this information to these agencies in person, use dedicated telephone lines/hotlines or send an anonymous tip-off.
· When you approach these agencies, make sure that you provide complete information including a full description of the allegations of fraud or corruption, department involved in the alleged fraud or corruption, the persons or organisations involved and any tangible evidence that you have of this alleged crime.
· This information will assist those tasked with the investigation to conduct thorough investigations. It is irresponsible to observe corruption and not do anything about it.
|SA salutes honest public servants who have blown the whistle on corruption.
|· In many instances, it has taken the bravery of honest public servants to blow the whistle on corruption.
· These public servants have done so at risk of their livelihoods and sometimes their lives.
· The behaviour of public servants must be beyond reproach at all times.
· Public officials must be resolute in stamping out corruption.
· We must work to ensure a culture of service delivery and excellence.
· We need to continuously practise integrity and loyalty for future generations to emulate and follow.
· Public servants must be the gold standard; our actions must inspire others to do what is right at all times.
· By simply doing the right thing and by working to ensure a better tomorrow we can leave a lasting legacy for our children and future generations.
|The safety or whistle-blowers is a priority.
|· Our law enforcement agencies have been trained to ensure that they protect the identity of the whistle-blower, and to treat all passed on information as confidential.
· Our whistle-blowing hotlines do not make use of tracing and caller identification technologies, and hotline operators are trained to respect the wishes of a caller should they choose to remain anonymous.
· Any information received is also stored in a secured manner until such time it is passed on to the investigating officer.
· Should you choose to provide the organisation with your personal details, the organisation has the responsibility to ensure your details remain confidential.
· When you disclose your personal details, you will be advised that you are doing so at your own discretion.
|Together we can blow the whistle on wrongdoing!
|· Report corruption by dialling the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.
· If you believe you have credible information that is linked to any fraud or corruption you can pass this information to these agencies through their hotlines and emails:
o Special Investigating Unit Whistle-blower Hotline : 0800 037 774
o Public Protector hotline: 0800 11 20 40
o Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation Telephone: 012 846 4590
o Independent Police Investigative Directorate
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Together we can fight corruption.
|· The success of our fight against corruption depends on the involvement of all citizens and all parts of society.
· As a society we simply cannot allow corruption to take hold.
· It is up to each one of us to act with integrity at all times, and to be both a responsible and honest citizen. We all have a role to play in fighting corruption.
· By working together we can ensure that those who are corrupt have no place to hide.
· As an active citizen you can ensure that those who squander and misuse your taxes are held to account.
· As a member of the public you are entitled to know how your taxes are used and that these are not misused to enrich the criminals.
|If we don’t stop corruption we lose everything.
|· When you pay or take a bribe you are breaking the law and perpetuating an endless cycle.
· When we succumb to daily interactions such as buying a drivers licence or paying a bribe we not only break the law, but also give rise to a culture of impunity.
· Every illegal action gives rise to bigger problems down the line.
· Nepotism robs our children of a fair chance to compete for a job, while tax evasion robs our nation of better service delivery.
· Corruption deprives people of quality education and job opportunities, it undermines all efforts to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment, and robs people of safety, health, infrastructure and a better quality of life.
· Corruption has the potential to cripple all facets of society and it prevents us from building a better tomorrow.