Call for a whistle-blowing culture in SA

A whistle-blowing campaign was launched in Cape Town on Monday with a call to create a culture of exposing corruption.

Alison Tilley, head of the Open Democracy Advice Centre, said at the event that there was a desperate need to create a culture of whistle-blowing in South Africa. “Corruption and fraud costs South Africans in excess of R100 billion each year. It is eating at the very fabric of our society,” Tilley said. “Fighting corruption starts with individuals. Small acts of courage can have a massive impact.”

National Whistle-Blowing Week is funded by the Dutch embassy. The campaign seeks to encourage South Africans to blow the whistle on corruption, and equip potential whistle-blowers with access to information on the Protected Disclosures Act. The act supports and protects whistle-blowers.

“We are very concerned that the number of whistle-blowers is dropping. We want to encourage them to keep coming forward,” Tilley said.

Research by Transparency International had ranked South Africa 55th out of 180 countries in a 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index. “The very core of what we stand for as a nation is in danger. It is up to the person on the street to stand up and say no to wrongdoing in all sectors of business and government,” Tilley said.

The City of Cape Town has its own Whistle-blowing Policy which seeks to promote a culture in which employees feel able to raise genuine and valid concerns without fear of victimisation, discrimination or disadvantage. In terms of the policy, every employee has a responsibility to disclose any criminal or other irregular conduct in the workplace. This is in line with the City’s commitment to the highest standards of openness, integrity and accountability.

Any member of the public, including residents, suppliers, companies and external parties can call the City’s toll-free anti-corruption hotline on 0800 32 31 30 to report suspected corruption – anonymously or otherwise.

SA – the Good News via SAPA and the City of Cape Town