Murder of Babita Deokaran highlights need to protect whistle-blowers: Ayanda Dlodlo
Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo said on Monday the murder of Babibita Deokaran highlighted the need to protect whistle-blowers who speak up against corruption and criminal conduct in the government.
She commended whistle-blowers for their contribution to root out corruption and ensure a government that delivers and acts ethically.
Dlodlo was speaking at the launch of the Public Administration Ethics Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit, which aims to crack down on corruption.
She said whistle-blowers are change agents who do work over and above their tasks, even to their detriment.
“Any anti-corruption initiative must allow employees to blow the whistle on corruption and for the protection of whistle-blowers. The death of Babita Deokaran highlights the imperative to increase awareness among employees on whistle-blowing to bolster early detection of corruption and criminal conduct,” said Dlodlo.
It is time we revisit SA's whistle-blowing regime and examine it vigorously, not only the legislation and its effectiveness but also the lack of a single repository that can be used for research to strengthen the system and practice.Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo
The minister called on law enforcement to speed up the investigation and prosecutions of individuals behind the killings of government whistle-blowers, including Deokaran.
“This we should do for future generations to inherit from us a government that is ethical and with integrity that our people can trust. It is time we revisit SA’s whistle-blowing regime and examine it vigorously, not only the legislation and its effectiveness but also the lack of a single repository that can be used for research to strengthen the system and practice,” said Dlodlo.
Gauteng health department corruption-buster Deokaran worked in the department’s finance office. She was a whistle-blower in a Special Investigating Unit investigation into R332.5m Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) procurements that were allegedly irregularly awarded.
She was gunned down last month outside her Winchester Hills home in southern Johannesburg. The state is building its case against six suspects, Phakamani Hadebe, Zita Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla.
Dlodlo said the government’s efforts against corruption should be extended to individuals who seek to stifle efforts to combat criminality by victimising whistle-blowers.
“The establishment of the unit is an important step in addressing corruption and to encourage workplace ethics, but I would also like every public servant to note that ethics is a responsibility of every one of us,” said Dlodlo.