Would you rat out a colleague for R50,000?

Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga has joined calls for the consideration of incentives or “bounties” to encourage whistleblowing.

The Institute of Internal Auditors said on Wednesday (28 January) that South Africa has lost R700 billion to corruption over the last 20 years.

Malunga said South Africa has not made it worth it for people to whistleblow, given the risks involved. He was speaking at the launch of the Anti-Intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum (AEPF) in Johannesburg.

He said whistleblowers were often subjected to retaliation, including intimidation, harassment, dismissal or violence at the hands of their colleagues or superiors, making the practice of reporting wrongdoing an unpleasant occurrence.

Malunga cited, among others, the case of Mpumalanga government official, Jimmy Mohlala, who was shot and killed after lifting the lid on alleged corrupt practices involving a 2010 FIFA World Cup construction project.

Often, victims of this retaliatory action included financial accounting professionals such as auditors, he said.

“My simple premise ultimately is that we really have to not made it worth people’s while to be whistleblowers – It is something you do for the love of your country, out of patriotic fervour,” Malunga said.

The advocate pointed out that some countries added incentives to encourage whistleblowing in the same way the police use the reward system for leads in a criminal investigation.

Malunga suggested that modest amounts of R5000, R10,000, and R50,000 could encourage whistleblowing, depending on the gravity of the offence or extent of the fraud committed against the state.

Noting that South Africa’s Protected Disclosures Act – a piece of legislation that seeks to protect whistleblowers – was undergoing amendments to address the various gaps identified in the law, Malunga said incentives for would be whistleblowers should be given serious considerations.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress wants government to remove unqualified people from top municipal jobs, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.

“Government is called upon to conduct a skills audit and remove those people who occupy positions they do not qualify for,” he said.

“The ANC must publicly and decisively deal with poor performance and corruption.”

Mantashe said the ANC wanted to strengthen accountability and political management. He said a history teacher could not be appointed as a chief financial officer, for example.

Reporting with Sapa.

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Would you rat out a colleague for R50,000?