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R2K: Statement by the Right2Know Campaign, condemning State Security's attempts to silence whistleblower (20/02/2012)

20th February 2012

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

The Right2Know campaign strongly condemns the actions of Dennis Dlomo, acting DG of State Security, as well as the broader efforts of the SSA to silence whistleblower Roberta Nation.


Their actions, exposed by the City Press on Sunday <http://www.citypress.co.za/Politics/News/Spy-boss-warns-lawyer-20120218> , underscore the crisis of accountability plaguing South Africa's security cluster, and highlight the plight of whistleblowers even without the proposed Protection of State Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill) – proposed legislation that the acting DG has championed relentlessly since its drafting.

It has come to light that the SSA has sought to sideline Nation after she uncovered fraud in the SSA's medical scheme, and tried to prevent her from getting independent legal advice -- invoking, among others, the apartheid-era Protection of Information Act (1982). After numerous attempts to deal with her grievance within the SSA came to nought, Nation opted for lawyers outside the agency to take up her case. She maintains that the Agency has not dealt with her allegations of fraud running into hundreds of thousands of rand, and has only acted to silence her, taking her away from fraud prevention functions. She has taken the step of going to the press as a last resort, after the Agencyfailed to do anything substantive about her claims.

Nothing could be more symptomatic of the need for radical revisions in the Secrecy Bill, including inclusion of a public interest defense, that would protect whistleblowers such as Nation who seek to speak out against corruption and injustice. This is a particularly urgent problem in the state security cluster, which lacks any accountability to the public.

The Right2Know campaign demands that whistleblowers such as Nation be given strong protection in order to be able to uncover wrongdoing, even inside heart of the intelligence services. She is risking a great deal under current, inadequate laws to make this information public -- laws that would be further undermined by the Secrecy Bill.

The Right2Know campaign demands that the Agency takes swift action on the fraud in its own ranks, and takes a clear position in its representations on the Secrecy Bill on the dire need for more protection for those who speak out against corruption and injustice, even within intelligence structures.

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