CORRECTIONAL SERVICES WHISTLEBLOWER SUSPENDED

File Pic: Dumisani Dube

DAYS AFTER LAYING CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST HIS BOSSES

It is inconceivable that prison warder Fanie Mogotji would be sitting idly at home had he not laid charges of corruption and fraud against his bosses.

 Mogotji was served with a precautionary suspension only days after he had opened the case.

 Buoyed by startling revelations at the Zondo Commission of inquiry, Mogotji representing a group of concerned officials in the Department of Correctional Services, went on to open a case of corruption, fraud and interfering with cases, against among others, his boss Grace Molatedi, the DCS regional commissioner in Gauteng.

 The case was opened at the Mondeor Police station, south of Johannesburg, on February 21.

 Mogotji was suspended on February 28.

 His suspension has sent shock waves among officials at the Sun City prison where Mogotji is employed.

 They think he is merely being victimized for standing out for the truth.

 In his sworn statement to the police, Mogotji speaks of how coffers of the DCS were being “whittled” away by corruption while those implicated “strut around unaffected”.

 Among his supporting affidavits to the police is one from former Bosasa (now African Global Operations) COO Angelo Agrizzi (submitted at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry) as well as a statement from “concerned” officials.

 Agrizzi had testified to the commission about multi-million rand tenders awarded to Bosasa by the DCS.

 In one instance, Agrizzi had testified that the DCS paid Bosasa and advance of R106 million for products that were supposedly needed to be imported in what is being termed “fiscal dumping”.

 The term “fiscal dumping” first appeared in a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report which stated that this was the DCS’s way of getting rid of money left at the end of the financial year by hurriedly spending funds before the end of a financial year even if it received no value in return.

 Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had asked the legal team at the State Capture Commission to investigate if Bosasa still enjoys the alleged corrupt relationship with the DCS.

 Among those Mogotji want the police to investigate is Vincent Smith, Patrick Gillingham, Linda Mti, Khulekani Sithole, Zacck Modise, Thandi Makoko, Ishmael Dikane and Grace Molatedi.

 Mogotji’s other crime, it seems, was to initiate a Wattsap group called DCS Workers Forum ostensibly to “enhance” the interests and address challenges of DCS employees.

 Mogotji thinks his suspension is motivated by “personal hatred” and a “misuse of state resources to advance personal gains”.

At a media briefing days after Mogotji  had laid his charges,  the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv. Michael Masutha announced that all DCS officials who were implicated in acts of impropriety in the testimonies given before the Zondo Commission have been served with notices and the department was studying their responses “and shall indicate its intentions moving forward”.

 Spokesman for the DCS Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed that Mogotji is on suspension pending an investigation into his action related to putting the organisation into disrepute.

 Nxumalo declined to give further details about Mogotji’s alleged misdemeanour saying “so that we do not prejudice the process, we will prefer to limit communication strictly with the official, as this is a labour relations matter between employer and employee”.

 He denied that Mogotji’s suspension was part of “victimization and intimidation” saying it will give space to the department to conduct a proper investigation into allegations of improper conduct for putting the department into disrepute.

 The suspension of Mogotji puts the plight of whistle blowers into sharp focus, with some raising concerns that it will discourage others from standing up to raise alarms about wrongdoing in the workplace.

 Research indicates that roughly half of all workers witness crimes or wrongdoing at their workplace but only three percent have the courage to whistle blow.

Life can also be hard for the whistle blower but workplace whistle blowers can rely on the protection afforded by the South African Protected Disclosures Act.

As for officials working at the DCS , theirs is a daily challenge with claims of, among others, lack of resources, selective treatment of staff, staff shortages including that they have not been issued with new uniforms since 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

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