Systems in place to protect whistle blowers

Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the department has put systems in place to ensure that whistle blowers who come forward to report corruption are protected.

The Deputy Minister said this when she, along with other Ministers in the Governance Cluster, fielded oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Member of Parliament Regina Lesoma had asked whether the department had developed a monitoring instrument to assess the implementation and compliance with the Protected Disclosures Act, Act 26 of 2000.

The one thing we need to remember is that we are not the custodians of the Act, but there are systems that we have put in place to ensure that we are able to live by the expectations and aspirations of the Act itself in a sense that we have built principles of the code of conduct around what is enshrined in the piece of legislation, she said.

The Deputy Minister said the powers to oversee the implementation of the legislation are vested with the Minister responsible for the administration of Justice.

She said the ambit of application of the Act goes beyond the functions and powers for the Minister of Public Service and Administration.

The department has developed a code of conduct as one of the monitoring systems to assess the implementation of the Act.

And as I have said earlier on, the principles on the code of conduct have taken into cognisance what is enshrined in this piece of legislation.

In terms of protection for whistle blowers, we do have systems in place.

When people come and report through various hotlines, but even in the sense that they give us letters and they become anonymous people, we do not dig to find out who those individuals are.

So in a sense, those anonymous people are protected. In events where people are known, again the department strives to ensure that departments and the department itself do not over react in a sense that they expose those who are whistle blowers, but ensure that through the proper channels within the justice system, protection is given to the whistle blowers in the public service, she said.

In response to a follow-up question on how the department ensures that those that are placed under the witness protection programme are assisted once the duration of the programme lapses, the Deputy Minister said whistle blowers who are employees of the department are assisted through an Employee Assistance Programme.

You must understand that being in the witness protection programme is one of the most difficult situations you might find yourself in as a person.

When there are whistle blowers within the department, we do encourage and give support to those employees through various means, including the employee assistance programme, she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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