'We need them to make offer to Athol to come back’ - OUTA CEO at launch of anti-corruption week

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  • Defend Our Democracy launched its anti-corruption week campaign on Monday.
  • During the event panelist and OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage called on government to reach out to whistleblower Athol Williams.
  • On Sunday, Williams announced that he would be leaving the country out of fear for his life.

OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage has urged the government to send a strong message and reach out to whistleblower Athol Williams after he announced that he would leave the country out of fear for his safety. 

On Monday, Duvenage was part of the panel at the launch of Defend Our Democracy's anti-corruption week campaign. 

"So send a strong signal from the presidency and from everybody in the state who should be doing something about corruption by reaching out to Athol Williams and ask him what it would take to bring him back and convince him that this country is worth living in," he said. 

On Sunday, Williams announced that he was leaving the country over fears for his safety after he blew the whistle on companies and individuals involved in state capture. 

"We need them to do something about this. We need them to make an offer to Athol to come back. We aren't just talking to the government. We are talking to business," said Duvenage. 

This country has lost an extremely knowledgeable individual who has so much to offer. We cannot just sit back and allow him to leave without the efforts to try and bring him back

In his statement, Williams said that he faced alienation and abandonment by corporate South Africa after speaking out. 

Duvenage said: "He has left because there is no meaningful support for whistleblowers, there is no protection, there is [sic] no laws that really substantially help whistleblowers to stand up and do what they have to do. We rely on whistleblowers to stop corruption, and yet the state sits back and watches the annihilation, the loneliness of whistleblowers."

READ | Whistleblower Athol Williams flees country fearing for his life, cites Babita Deokaran assassination

In the build-up to the International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, Defend Our Democracy has urged citizens to champion the fight against corruption.

South Africans have been urged to hold host a lunchtime picket, businesses to sign an integrity pledge and public servants to report corruption.

The anti-corruption week will take place from 3-10 December, and anti-apartheid veteran Reverend Frank Chikane is expected to lead the campaign. 

Chikane was asked about the recent elections and the number of coalition governments that will be needed, and he said: "I don’t want to go into party politics and defend our democracy, but the point is coalitions have proved to be unstable, especially when people do it for convenience it becomes in the interest of the parties rather than the interest of the people. When they are done, it's delivery that is affected. It is us, the people of South Africa, who must take a stand."

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