Vague apologies from miscreants ‘sheer arrogance’, says whistle-blower

State capture whistle-blower and author Athol Williams said vague apologies from the perpetrators implicated in the report on the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was “sheer arrogance”, as the harm done has not only led to job loss but also ruined lives.

Williams, speaking via video connection, said the Whistle-blowers for Change group had developed a six-step process for perpetrators to follow in order to make comprehensive amends for the harm caused and also revamp
their legitimacy.

“We don’t believe just repaying fees is sufficient; vague statements of apologies are also insufficient. We believe there has to be a rigorous process to be followed,” said Williams, who fled the country for his own safety.

“This process goes from the start, from companies needing to make full disclosure of exactly what they’ve done, acknowledging the harm they’ve done and who they committed that harm to.”

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Williams said it was encouraging for whistle-blowers to see how the country had begun to reject the norm of forgetting what happened in the past, while allowing the perpetrators to make superficial changes and then calling
them reparations.

“It’s sheer arrogance on behalf of the perpetrators to decide what they are going to do, decide what money they are going to contribute and where,” Williams said.

Whistle-blowers for Change called for fundamental reforms to the Protected Disclosure Act and urged government to bring South African legislation in line with Article 32(2) of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The group said SA should provide for establishing procedures to protect whistle-blowers. According to the group, the Act should introduce, among other things, compensation for any harm, such as loss of livelihood, income, life savings and reputation.

“We understand this to be the rationale for the Zondo commission’s recommendation that a fixed percentage of monies recovered should be awarded to the whistle-blower, provided the information disclosed has been
material in the obtaining of the award” said SA Airways whistle-blower Cynthia Stimpel. Chief executive of the South
African Human Rights Commission
(SAHRC) Tseliso Thipanyane said the commission had spent millions to help whistle-blowers.

“The SAHRC’s mandate is to protect human rights and we are very clear that corruption undermines those rights, and so we will continue to fight,” he said.

Meanwhile another state capture whistle-blower, Themba Maseko, said an attempted home invasion on Friday was most likely linked to the Zondo report and his intention to join Friday’s discussion.

In a series of tweets, Maseko said while he had no evidence, it was suspicious that two men had tried to gain entry into his bedroom early on Friday, adding the timing was too coincidental.

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