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The Department of Justice is looking for innovative ways to close whistleblower protection loopholes, according to Lamola



The Department of Justice is looking for innovative ways to close whistleblower

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola said he is looking at “creative” ways to close loopholes in whistleblower protections pending amendments to the relevant legislation days after SA Tourism announced that a “forensic investigation” into the leaked sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur had been launched.(The Department of Justice is looking for innovative ways to close whistleblower protection loopholes, according to Lamola)

South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) annual general meeting on Saturday morning was addressed by Lamola. Themba Khumalo, SA Tourism’s CEO, was also scheduled to speak, but his appearance was canceled as a result of a family emergency.

During last Thursday’s media briefing, SA Tourism CEO Khumalo said the organization would “isolate” the whistleblower who disclosed the proposed sponsorship deal worth close to R1 billion.

In spite of being blasted by the Portfolio Committee on Tourism for the threat to the whistleblower and ordering the deal to be stopped, SA Tourism announced on Wednesday that its board “has deliberated and resolved to conduct a forensic investigation into the leaks of the SA Tourism Board discussion”.(Department of Justice)

As Lamola did not have all the information on these developments, he did not want to express himself.

However, he did state that all state organs must protect whistleblowers under the Protected Disclosures Act.

According to Lamola, one of the issues that the media needs to think about is the protection of whistleblowers, “who contribute greatly to the fight against corruption”.

It is noteworthy that UNESCO published an issue brief last May, on World Press Freedom Day, on “Journalism and whistleblowing: a crucial tool for protecting human rights, fighting corruption, and promoting democracy”.

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He said:

It recommended that laws and practices be strengthened so that whistleblowers can choose to protect their identities if they so choose. Journalists should be allowed to keep their sources confidential by strengthening regulations, laws, and practices.

“The media will play an important role in ensuring whistleblowers are protected here in South Africa.

“Government and companies implicated in corruption and unethical practices should be held accountable, and the media should continue to expose those who victimize whistleblowers.”(Department of Justice)

In addition, the Zondo Commission recommended strengthening whistleblower protections. Until the legislation is passed, Lamola said the department is exploring “creative ways” to close loopholes.

A three-year deal between SA Tourism and Tottenham, the club from North London, was reported by Daily Maverick last Wednesday, with a value of £42.5 million (about R900 million). Starting in 2023-’24 and ending in 2026-’27, the agreement would start at the beginning of the season. In exchange, SA Tourism would receive kit branding, interview backdrop branding, match-day advertisements, partnership announcements, training camps in South Africa, and tickets and hospitality free of charge. Department of Justice

Khumalo held a media briefing the following day, telling reporters that the whistleblower would be “isolated”.

Public outcry has been caused by the proposed deal.(Department of Justice)

In its annual financial statements released on Friday, Tottenham announced its results for the year ended 30 June 2022. Its revenue for the year was £444 million, or about R9.5 billion. Compared with the previous year’s £361.9 million, this was an impressive increase. A loss of R1 billion, or £50 million, was recorded for 2022.

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The club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, cited increased sponsorship revenue as one of the keys to maintaining its competitiveness.

“It is imperative for First Team investment and to remain competitive that we continue to control costs, increase commercial and sponsorship revenue, and maintain European qualification,” he said.

(Department of Justice)

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