The newly appointed Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka, has highlighted the urgent need for whistle-blower protection in South Africa. In a recent address to the Cape Town Press Club, Gcaleka emphasized the limitations of her office in safeguarding whistle-blowers and called for immediate action.
Gcaleka acknowledged that while the Protective Disclosures Act grants the public protector’s office the authority to investigate protected disclosures, it falls short in providing adequate protection for whistle-blowers.
– Advertisement –
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Electricity Minister Ramokgopa Temporarily Assumes Role As Finance Minister
She stated, “We lack the power to protect or call for protection, to direct or call for legal assistance for whistle-blowers, and this has been a significant issue within the realm of whistle-blowing.”
Gcaleka cited the unfortunate cases of whistle-blowers, such as Babita Deokaran and Eric Phenya, who lost their lives after exposing corruption and looting.
She expressed concern over the plight of whistle-blowers in the country, who often face financial hardship, lack of protection, and limited access to legal representation. Gcaleka stressed the necessity of empowering her office to effectively safeguard and support whistle-blowers.
During the parliamentary vote on Gcaleka’s appointment, Glynnis Breytenbach of the Democratic Alliance insinuated that Gcaleka’s career advancement was facilitated by an “inappropriate relationship” with her former boss, Menzi Simelane.
The South African Women Lawyers Association criticized Breytenbach’s remarks, deeming them misogynistic and disheartening.
– Advertisement –
Responding to questions about how she differs from her predecessor and whether she can be trusted, Gcaleka asserted that history would be the ultimate judge.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: ‘Minister Your Days Are Numbered’ Lesufi Apologises For Threatening Comments Directed At Cabinet Minister
She highlighted the work accomplished by the public protector’s office during her 16 months as acting protector, stating, “We haven’t just proposed reforms; we have implemented them.
We have already submitted amendments, so it should not take more than two years to make these amendments effective.”
Gcaleka emphasized that trust would be built through the quality and integrity of the office’s work. She expressed confidence in the progress made thus far, stating, “I believe that we have embarked on that task.”