Date: Nov 8, 2021 Type: Country:

South Africa: The state must provide whistleblowers with protection

It is concerning that whistleblowers in South Africa are not protected and are either forced into hiding, killed or find themselves having to leave the country, Amnesty International South Africa said.

Athol Williams, who blew the whistle on companies and people involved in state capture, has reportedly said that he recently left South Africa because he feared for his life and that the government had provided him no protection.

“It is unacceptable that whistleblowers, who are risking their lives in order to protect the people of South Africa and combat corruption, are treated with such disdain. We have already seen how brave people like Babita Deokaran were murdered for doing the right thing because they were not properly protected. The state is obliged to provide whistleblowers with protection,” Amnesty International South Africa executive director Shenilla Mohamed said. 

“Whistleblowers are critical to any democracy because they are a warning sign that lets us know as society, as authorities, that something is going wrong. They expose acts of criminality and abuse by governments, corporations, organisations and individuals. Without whistleblowers, evidence of large-scale human rights violations would never surface.” 

Background

Althol Williams, who testified at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, reportedly released a statement on Monday confirming that he had left the country on 1 November because he believed his life was at risk. He said after receiving warnings from trusted allies and a civil society organisation about a coordinated effort against him, he took the decision to leave South Africa.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Genevieve Quintal, Media and Communications Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 (0)64 890 9224; genevieve.quintal@amnesty.org.za