n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000, the Companies Act 71 of 2008 and the Competition Act 89 of 1998 with regard to whistle-blowing protection : is there a link?

Volume 2014, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



Corruption is a major concern worldwide, because it can not only impede economic growth in a country, but can also be detrimental to democratic principles, stability and trust. It has been said that corruption "undermines confidence in government, diverts public recourses and distorts trade", and it "not only tarnishes the reputation of the company or the industry involved, but it also slows overall economic development, which severely affects the poor." It has also been emphasised that

"[c]orruption is a systemic and institutional phenomenon involving all sectors of society and undermines democratic processes and corporate governance and erodes social cohesion and values. Measures to combat corruption must deal with both those who corrupt as well as those who are corrupted."
Against this backdrop it is important to note that the perception is that corruption in South Africa has increased over the last five to ten years. If a country's score is 0 it is highly corrupt, whereas a score of a 100 makes a country "very clean". A scale of 0 to 100 is used to indicate the perceived level of public sector corruption. In 2012 South Africa was perceived as one of the most corrupt countries out of 176 countries surveyed, with a score of 69 out of 182 countries surveyed with a score of 4.1 out of 10. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks territories or countries on "how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be". New Zealand currently holds the number one position, and Denmark and Finland the number two position. These countries are perceived as the least corrupt countries, with scores of 9.5 and 9.4 respectively.
Whistle-blowing is one of the mechanisms that exist to deter corruption and thus plays an important role in encouraging transparency and high standards of corporate governance not only in companies but other organisations as well. Many definitions of whistle-blowing exist. A guiding definition proposed by Transparency International is as follows: whistle-blowing is "the disclosure of information related to corrupt, illegal, fraudulent or hazardous ... which are of concern to or threaten the public interest - to individuals or entities believed to be able to effect action." This definition also covers perceived or potential wrongdoing. A broad definition of whistle-blowing establishes the scope of application and covers "the disclosure or reporting of wrongdoing, including but not limited to corruption; criminal offences; breaches of legal obligation; miscarriages of justice; specific dangers to public health, safety or the environment; abuse of authority; unauthorised use of public funds or property; gross waste or mismanagement; conflict of interest; and acts to cover up of any of these". Fraudulent financial disclosures made by government agencies/officials and publicly traded corporations as well as possible human rights violations if warranted or appropriate within a national context can be included here.

Korrupsie is 'n wêreldwye probleem wat nie net 'n hindernis vir ekonomiese groei in 'n land kan wees nie, maar wat ook demokratiese beginsels, stabiliteit en vertroue in só 'n land in gedrang kan bring. Klokluiers speel 'n baie belangrike rol om kriminele en ongewenste handelinge en gedrag sowel as ander ongerymdhede in beide openbare- en die privaat sektore bekend te maak. Die Wet op Beskermde Bekendmakings 26 van 2000 beskerm werknemers wat binne werksverband sodanige handelinge, gedrag en ongerymdhede bekend maak. Hierdie wet verleen beskerming teen viktimisering van klokluiers sowel as onbillike arbeidspraktyke kort voor ontslag en daadwerklike ontslag. Klokluiers se belangrikheid word egter nie slegs beperk tot situasies binne werksverband nie. Klokluiers, in die algemeen, dra by tot die bevordering van deursigtigheid en korporatiewe bestuur in maatskappye en ander organisasies. 'n Hele aantal wette sowel as beleidsdokumente bevat deesdae bepalings rondom korrupsie en die rol van klokluiers. Die Wet op Beskermde Bekendmakings sowel as ander wetgewing soos die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika, 1996, die Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge 66 van 1995 en die Maatskappywet 71 van 2008 vorm deel van hierdie raamwerk wat te doen het met klokluiers. Die Maatskappywet verleen nie net beskerming aan werknemers wat die klokke lui nie maar gaan verder as die Wet op Beskermde Bekendmakings. Die Maatskappywet verbreed die beskermingsraamwerk om ook direkteure, aandeelhouers, verskaffers, werknemers van verskaffers ensovoorts in te sluit. Die Suid-Afrikaanse mededingingsowerhede moedig ook openbaarmaking deur klokluiers ten aansien van kartèlaktiwiteite aan. Die laasgenoemde owerhede het spesifiek die korporatiewe verslappingsbeleid in plek gestel om die posisie van klokluiers ten aansien van die openbaarmaking van kartèlaktiwiteite te reguleer. Aansluitend hierby is daar ook die Wet op Voorkoming en Bestryding van Korrupte Bedrywighede 12 van 2004 wat korrupsie 'n misdaad maak en voorsiening maak vir die voorkoming en bestryding van korrupsie. Hierdie wet plaas ook 'n verpligting op persone in gesaghebbende posisies om sekere korrupte aktiwiteite aan te meld.
Hierdie artikel fokus op die bepalings van die Wet op Beskermde Bekendmakings, die Maatskappywet sowel as die Wet op Mededinging en die gepaardgaande korporatiewe verslappingsbeleid ten aansien van die effektiewe voorsiening van beskermingsmaatreëls vir klokluiers asook of daar sinergie bestaan tussen hierdie wetgewende bepalings met betrekking tot die beskerming van klokluiers.

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