Transparency International’s latest 2011 Corruptions Index ranks South Africa 64 out of 182. (New Zealand is top and Somalia bottom). At 32 Botswana is the highest ranking African country.
In spite of this, less than two out of 10 South Africans (18%) have blown the whistle based on the 2011 survey findings for the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC).
This 18% is made up of mostly White (44%) and Black (31%) South Africans followed by Indian (15%) and Coloured (4%).
Men are More likely to Blow the Whistle
The survey by Ipsos Markinor, tells us that men are more likely to blow the whistle than women and whistleblowers tend to be older – 68% of them are over the age of 35.
Respondents not working are statistically more likely to blow the whistle while the highest concentrations of whistleblowers are found in the Cape Town metro, Eastern Cape metros and the Durban / PMB metro area.
This report provides the descriptive findings of the fifth survey of citizens and their perceptions of whistleblowing and accessing information in South Africa.
According to the report there was overwhelming support for the protection of whistleblowers from the 500 respondents in the survey.
Whistleblowers Should be Protected
Eighty eight percent felt whistleblowers should be protected. This sentiment was felt most strongly amongst the 50+ age group and those respondents currently not working, which as we know is the group from where the most whistle blowers come.
Protected Disclosures Act
But when it came to the legislation, the respondents were not at all in the picture. Just less than three out of 10 South Africans have heard of the Protected Disclosures Act (PDA). Over half of these people are white males and tend to be over the age of 50. It is interesting to note that this is one of the few questions where work status has no impact on responses. Equal numbers of those working and those not working have heard of the act. Awareness of the PDA is greater in the Cape Town and Durban / PMB metro areas.
Whilst there is strong support for the PDA, there is less certainty about its effectiveness. Only three out of 10 South Africans believe that is does effectively protect whistleblowers. There were equal numbers of people who simply didn’t know how to answer the question and therefore did not have sufficient information about the implementation of the act.
Black South Africans were slightly more positive than other race groups and work status played a major role when deciding on the PDA’s effectiveness. Respondents not working were very positive about the effectiveness of the act (7 out of 10 felt it was effective) in comparison to those respondents currently working (3 out of 10 felt it was effective).
Just over 3 out of 10 South Africans are aware of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (POATIA). This awareness is highest amongst White South Africans, males and those older than 50. As with the awareness of the PDA, work status has no impact and equal numbers of employed and unemployed South Africans are aware of the act.