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S/Africa: Don’t kill whistleblowers, salute them – Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the protection of corruption whistleblowers following the recent killing of senior Gauteng Health Department…

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the protection of corruption whistleblowers following the recent killing of senior Gauteng Health Department finance official Babita Deokaran.Writing in his weekly message to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa noted that as the government’s fight against corruption gathered momentum, it was clear that the state needed to urgently review its current approach, not only to witness protection, but also to the broader protection of whistleblowers. 

Deokaran’s murder was “a stark reminder of the high stakes involved in government and society’s collective quest to remove and eliminate South Africa’s cancer of corruption,” he said.

“While numerous systems are in place to enable whistleblowers to report anonymously, we need to tighten up existing systems and provide greater support to those who publicly come forward with information,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “As society, we need to identify where existing laws and policies are inadequate in protecting the livelihoods, reputations and safety of whistleblowers – and work together to address these.”

Ramaphosa said the “the intent of the criminals who target whistleblowers is not only to silence particular individuals – it is also to send a message to other potential whistleblowers.”

Without the bravery and principled interventions of whistleblowers like Deokaran, government would be unable to unmask those committing corruption, he added.

Ramaphosa’s message came as seven suspects arrested for their alleged role in the assassination of Deokaran in broad daylight at her home appeared in court on Monday.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said there was “a link” between her murder and those facing charges involving US$24 million in personal protective equipment tender fraud in the Gauteng Health Department.

News reports said Deokaran’s alleged killers stalked her for more than a month. 

According to the reports, three days after the hit the killers were traced by a maze of CCTV cameras that pieced together their getaway route and led to their arrests.

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