MINISTER PLEDGES TO PROTECT CORRUPTION WHISTLEBLOWERS

‘All whistleblowers will be protected. Let us be bold for one day. You will fear no one, instead they will fear you.”  This was the assurance of Richard Baloyi, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, in Pretoria.

He was reacting to questions on the safety of whistleblowers, especially within Government Departments. 

“We are ready and if people say they are afraid, we will protect them. I give you my assurance today and am prepared to be held accountable,” the Minister said at a function held under the auspices of the National Anti-Corruption Forum to mark International Anti-Corruption Day.  “As South Africa we have laid a foundation to fight corruption. The main challenge is in the implementation,” said Mr Baloyi. 

He said South Africa had a number of initiatives in place such as the Batho Pele hotline, the anti-corruption hotline and the new Presidential hotline.  However, more vigorous implementation was needed to produce the desired results, he said. 

Mr Baloyi added: “It’s only when people decide to keep quite that we perpetuate corruption. We need to speak out and whistleblowers will be protected. I give my assurance today.”  On Monday, Mr Baloyi and officials will be in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offer advice at an anti-corruption conference.  “They have what we know here in South Africa as ghost workers,” he said, explaining that they would share with their counterparts anti-corruption mechanisms. 

“The DRC has found us helpful in the past and we are going there prepared to share the knowledge we have.”  Asked about South Africa’s own situation – it is ranked 55 out of ‘ countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index – he said there was no internationally accepted or agreed upon generic definition of corruption.  However, he maintained that South Africa must fight corruption irrespective of which ranking the country was on. Ramabele Magoma-Nthite, making a presentation about the Presidential hotline, said it had been overwhelmed with calls reporting corruption. 

“There are challenges in capacity that the hotline is facing. it seems everyone wants to speak to the President,” Ms Magoma-Nthite said. 

The chairwoman of the anti-corruption forum, Futhi Mtoba, called for corporate accountability in combating corruption.  She warned: “The cost of corruption is more than monetary value and has dire consequences on society.

The effects of corruption include increased costs of doing business, exploitative working conditions and poor products such as badly built houses and buildings.”  Mr Mtoba reminded corporations that they were entrusted by society and were thus required to act as responsible corporate citizens. 

Mr Baloyi called on individuals and society to resist taking part in corrupt activities, saying that if society stood together, the battle against corruption would be won

Source: (www.pretorianews.co.za, 20091211)

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