Pretoria, South Africa- (African Boulevard News) – Anti-corruption groups in South Africa are calling for better protection of whistleblowers following a recent spate of killings that bear the hallmarks of professional hits. The murders serve as a chilling reminder of the risks that those who expose corruption face.
Reign of Terror Against Whistleblowers
The most recent was that of the specialist accountant, who was working on Africa’s biggest-ever railway deal. He was shot and killed shortly after exposing the involvement of a politically connected company in the project. This comes after the murder of another whistleblower, who was investigating a South African police unit’s links to organized crime.
According to the Corruption Watch, a Johannesburg-based watchdog, South Africa has experienced a “reign of terror” against whistleblowers. The organization has reported an increase in the number of threats, intimidation, and violence against people who speak up about corruption.
Whistleblowers Need Protection
Whistleblowers’ legal status in South Africa was improved in 2017 when parliament passed the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill. The bill intends to protect whistleblowers from victimization and to encourage the reporting of wrongdoing. However, corruption watchdogs claim that this is not enough, and more needs to be done to protect people who come forward. They want the South African government to ensure that whistleblowers are more adequately shielded from reprisals, and for improved legislation to guarantee their safety.
Corruption a Widespread Problem in South Africa
South Africa has long been plagued by corruption at all levels and in all sectors. This has resulted in a culture of impunity, in which corrupt officials are rarely held accountable for their actions. One of the most high-profile cases is that of former President Jacob Zuma, who is currently in jail for contempt of court after he refused to testify to an anti-corruption commission.
The recent wave of killings of whistleblowers has sent shockwaves through South African society. It highlights the urgent need for better protection of those who expose corruption. Until the South African government takes decisive action to address the issue and ensure that whistleblowers are protected, the scourge of corruption will continue to flourish in the country.