Whistleblower 'hounded from his job'

Published Sep 16, 1999


John Muller, the public servant who blew the whistle on corruption in Mpumalanga, has been hounded from his job and is now running a creche to support his family.

Muller, an Mpumalanga traffic officer who uncovered fraud in the issuing of driver's licences in the province, is just one of a growing number of whistleblowers in the public service who are being victimised, says the Democratic Party.

DP leader Tony Leon says although the public service code of conduct obliges state staff to come forward when confronted with corruption, there are no provisions to protect them from the consequences.

This has resulted in a series of cases in which whistleblowers have been hounded out of the public sector, systematically overlooked for promotion, refused transfers or suffered harassment or threats.

The DP is assembling a body of evidence on the issue - three recent cases have come to light - and this week tabled a series of parliamentary questions on the subject both to President Mbeki and to Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.

Ironically, the Open Democracy Bill, which is still awaiting passage through Parliament after more than a year of delays, includes provision for the protection of whistleblowers.

In a letter to the Mpumalanga premier's office in June 1997, Muller's lawyers said that after he had appeared before the Moldenhauer Commission of Inquiry, he was "victimised by officials in the department who have sought to try to coerce or frighten him into resigning".

Among the illegal licences uncovered by Muller was one allegedly issued to the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Kgositsile-Mbete. In a letter to Mbeki, Muller wrote: "Instead of congratulating me on a job well done, they have decided to persecute me.

"Mr President, I ask no favours but that true justice should prevail.

"At the moment of writing, I am utterly devastated because I have no future and no money.

"All of this because I did what I was paid to do; the right thing.

"Is this what true democracy is all about?"

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