Whistleblowing

Money is stolen in corrupt tenders, by councillors and officials directly, or by companies that accept payment and don’t do the work. This is money that should be spent on services and upgrading communities. It can include corrupt practices such as kickbacks or bribes, or failure to follow proper tendering policy. It can be a danger to health or safety or potential damage to the environment that can have serious consequences if not stopped. 

This is corruption. We can fight it.

If you work as an employee of local government and you see evidence of corruption or serious maladministration you should report it. This is called “whistleblowing”.

The main South African law that applies to whistleblowing is s. 26 of the Protected Disclosure Act (PDA). This Act only applies to whistleblowing by employees but it includes people who work both in both government and for private employers. The law is meant to encourage people to report corruption by protecting employees from victimisation from their employer or other employees when they report wrongdoing (“make a disclosure”). This is very important because people are afraid of being harassed or dismissed if they report wrongdoing.

What is a “protected disclosure”? When you report activities of your employer that are criminal, discriminatory or otherwise illegal you should, as an employee, be entitled to protection from being harassed or victimised, under the Protected Disclosures Act. It can include corrupt practices such as kickbacks or bribes, or failure to follow proper tendering policy.

Remember, non-employees who have information about wrongdoing or corruption do not have legal protection against retaliation under this Act if they blow the whistle. But you can ask the Public Protector to investigate and make a report or report your allegation and open a case with the police.

If you need help with whistleblowing consult lawyers, human rights organisations or an organisation like the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), who can give you advice on how to use this Act.