Access to legal support is an important service that we offer. Legal support is ideally required prior to an individual making the decision to blow the whistle: advice must be sought first from a legal practitioner to determine the risk and impact on the whistleblower and/or the alleged implicated party/parties. Adhering to prevailing procedures before escalating a disclosure to external parties is often crucial in obtaining legal protection. Many individuals are not aware of these requirements. Similarly, if the evidence whistleblowers may bring with them is to be admitted in court, certain ‘chain of custody’ requirements (as per the Law of Evidence Amendment Act, Act 45 of 1988) should be met. All of this makes legal guidance a vital form of support to whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers who are employees of an organisation often require legal advice in terms of labour legislation, informing them of their obligations and rights, before acting. Should the matter be escalated, whistleblowers need legal support to preserve their rights as employees.
The Whistleblower House partner with psychological specialists to ensure that whistleblowers receive appropriate treatment throughout their journey. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) very often manifest as depression and anxiety. The culmination of these side-effects requires, often long-term, specialist treatment through therapy and medication.
While the largest expenses incurred by blowing the whistle are associated with legal and medical fees, South Africa does not have any mechanisms to protect against a loss of earnings. The unemployment fund is only accessible to individuals who have been retrenched, dismissed or whose contract expired. It thus does not protect whistleblowers who resigned to distance themselves from the corruption they observed. South African labour legislation at most provides for compensation of a year’s salary for a successful claim.
South Africa does not have any framework to financially support individuals who are no longer employees, or families of whistleblowers who have been victimised, or to replace lost earnings (either through death, physical harm, or inability to work due to legal battles).
The Whistleblower House raises funding to provide reasonable support to whistleblowers for expenses incurred by their brave actions (medical and legal) as well as to assist them to get their lives back on track, through support services.
The Whistleblower House leverages its extensive network of whistleblowers and private organisations to market the skills of the whistleblower to identify potential employment/business opportunities.
The Whistleblower House will make every effort to place whistleblowers in a safe environment in terms of physical and digital security.
A whistleblower’s risk exposure must continually be assessed to ensure effective management of risk. For this reason, The Whistleblower House will conduct risk assessments at each milestone on the whistleblower’s journey and act in accordance with the risk mitigation measures identified.
If supported by legal advice and the whistleblower, The Whistleblower House will engage with credible media outlets to ensure that information is reported factually and with integrity. Specifically, The Whistleblower House will act as an agent for whistleblowers to minimise any further traumatic consequences as a result of poor reporting.
Instead of leaving whistleblowers to experience a lonely journey, The Whistleblower House provides a safe meeting point for these brave individuals. Having a support group can take the edge off, offers validity and affirmation. Access to mindful activities such as yoga and creative activities can create environments where whistleblowers can feel emotionally safe and relax.