Not enough incentives for whistle-blowers
THERE were not enough incentives for people to expose corruption, Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga said on Wednesday.
“We have not really made it worth people’s while to be whistle-blowers,” he said at the launch of the Anti-Intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum in Johannesburg.
“I definitely think we should consider the idea of a bounty or a sweetener,” he said.
Whistle-blowers faced threats including harassment, discrimination, dismissal, disciplinary proceedings, risk to their lives and the lives of their families, and harm to their reputation.
“We are faced with a pressing and urgent need to empower whistle-blowers.”
Legislation such as the Protected Disclosures Act did not provide strong enough protection to encourage whistle-blowers.
The forum was an important platform as it would help whistle-blowers feel they were protected.
“The protection of public and private sector whistle-blowers is really integral to combating corruption … we want to see a more enabling environment for protected disclosure.”
Mr Malunga said part of the problem in reporting corruption was that those reported often got away with no consequences.
“Some of the people we find to have done wrong, are able to get away without consequences. (We need) punishment for people who are found with their hand in the cookie jar,” he said.
The forum would provide its members with guidelines on reporting corruption to ensure their complaint did not fall through the cracks.
Mr Malunga said whistle-blowing was essential to transparency and fighting corruption. The way in which corruption was addressed had a direct effect on the prosperity of a country, he said.
The public protector’s office was willing to help the forum in its work.
“We, as integrity bodies, will work closely with this forum to assist this organisation of professionals.”
Mr Malunga said almost 50% of organisational fraud in 2014 was detected through tip-offs.
The sources of the tip-offs were employees (49%), customers (21.6%), anonymous (14.6%) and vendors (9.6%).
The forum aimed to educate its members about corruption, advise them on how to reveal corruption and what to do when whistle-blowers were intimidated.
It was intended to be a professional collective voice that would make pronouncements about the state of governance in the country.
The forum consists of an executive committee, agencies that can take action, interested organisations and an evaluation panel.
It was founded by eight professional bodies — the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners of SA, Crime Line, Ethics Institute of SA, Institute of Directors of Southern Africa, Institute of Internal Auditors of SA, Institute of Risk Management of SA, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the South African Institute of Professional Accountants.