‘Fund should be established to help whistleblowers regain their lives’
CAPE TOWN - The former chief executive of Gupta-linked Trillian Management Consulting and Eskom whistleblower, Bianca Goodson, believes a fund should be established to help whistleblowers regain their lives.
She was interviewed telephonically after she had written an open letter to Eskom’s chief executive, André de Ruyter, asking him to consider donating a fraction of the funds received through litigation from state capture, to whistleblowers.
De Ruyter responded to her letter on Tuesday evening, saying he admired her single-minded courage to stand up for the truth and the law, even though this came at considerable cost to her and her family.
He said Goodson’s proposal to have whistleblowers share in the financial recovery made by public entities was a first of its kind. Because there was no provision in South African law for whistleblowers, however, he could not pay her a reward.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said they had kept in touch with Goodson, and although the law did not make provision for the compensation she had suggested, “other possibilities are being explored”.
Goodson said whistleblowers had lost more than Eskom in their efforts to help the power utility. She said that she knew her current financial predicament was shared by other whistleblowers of state capture.
For example, according to recent media reports, South African Airways former treasurer Cynthia Stimpel, who blew the whistle on an unlawful R256million contract in 2016 and lost her job, was forced to give yoga classes because she was unable to find employment elsewhere, until Covid-19 put an end to that revenue stream.
Eskom’s former head of legal and compliance, Suzanne Daniels, who revealed the extent of the Guptas’ involvement in the parastatal to Parliament in 2017, had run out of money in December last year and had received a summons for her car.
Goodson said the trauma of state capture led to her divorce and unemployment after she was previously viewed as a potentially good candidate and had been head-hunted to become the chief executive of Trillion before the whistleblowing.
She had to start treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after whistleblowing. “Regardless of my weak mental state, I supported Bowman’s in their efforts to reclaim funds from McKinsey and Trillian with success,” she had written in her letter.
“Financially, I had to release my pension to support my daughter, as I had no other source of income over these years. I sought no gains from helping this country and particularly, Eskom,” she wrote.
In her letter, she called on De Ruyter to “formally and publicly” thank whistleblowers who helped the power utility, by employing them.