Civil servants the most vociferous Corruption Watch whistle blowers

2014-02-07 14:00

Civil servants are the loudest whistle blowers, says the latest Corruption Watch report.

“A lot of the complaints that we receive are from civil servants who have procurement, tender and nepotism complaints within their work environment,” says executive director of non-profit organisation Corruption Watch, David Lewis.

The report, on complaints received in 2013, says more than 56% of complaints were reported by public sector employees. “Some of the reports we receive are about the abuse of public resources for private gain,” said Lewis.

Corruption Watch received 2 262 complaints in 2013 and 10% were surveyed for this report.

He said some of the cases involved managers using work vehicles for private purposes.

Another example is employers who take gardeners or cleaners from work to their homes to provide services.

Lewis said there is some confusion about what constitutes corruption among whistle blowers.

“Corruption has become a byword for what is unfair. Sometimes people will contact us because their boss is too tough on them or they have a problem with their cellphone service provider,” said Lewis.

Gauteng topped the provincial charts at 38% – with the highest number of reports filed to the organisation. This is a drop from 46% in 2012.

Lewis said after investigations are done into reported cases often the biggest hurdle was getting the South African Police Services (SAPS) to come to the table.

“The police are not energetic about corruption charges. To my knowledge none of the cases we have presented to the SAPS have led to a conviction,” he said.

In some cases, internal disciplinary action is taken as a result of complaints to Corruption Watch.

The survey shows 53% of cases reported to Corruption Watch had previously been presented to the SAPS or the office of the Public Protector but complainants “did not receive the assistance they (the whistle blowers) expected”.

Earlier this week, acting provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba said: “The relationship between the Gauteng province police and the public is sound.” But 77% of whistle blowers surveyed said they chose to report offences to the organisation because they did not know where else to report them. “I do think there is an erosion of trust between the public and the SAPS,” said Lewis.

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