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SAPS corruption whistleblower fears for her life

by Salaamedia Intern
A whistleblower is fearing for her life after exposing the corruption within the SAPS Photo The Citizen

South Africa – A former Free State senior police clerk is fearing for her life after blowing the whistle on massive corruption within the police service.

Patricia Morgan-Mashale was dismissed from her job last year and has been in hiding since February. There have been two attempts on her life ever since she exposed police corruption.

“I did blow the whistle on SAPS corruption. I started to blow the whistle on SAPS corruption in 2009. Recently on 6 January 2021, I blew the whistle again to the former National Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and after that I suffered massive retaliation and occupational detriment.”

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Attempts on her life

There have so far been two attempts on her life. One just after she was dismissed in February and another only a week back.

“There was a first attempt on my life in February this year. That’s when I went into hiding. Then recently, just last week, in the early hours on Sunday morning there was a second attempt on my life. The car that I was travelling in was chased by a black Ford Ranger. We just managed to evade that car. We could see that they meant business. They wanted to get next to us. If it wasn’t for my son-in-law’s alertness, I would not be here today to tell this story.”

Mashale is not the first whistleblower to be targeted. Two weeks ago Marumo Eric Phenya was gunned down after he reported a conspiracy to commit murder case.


Getting her voice heard and securing her safety

Mashale has taken various measures to have her pleas heard and to guarantee her safety. However, according to her, even though she has written to the office of the president, she has largely been ignored.

“My first option was to send letters to parliament, the Portfolio Committee of Police, the president and I also sent letters to the Public Service Commission and the Public Protector. I know there is an investigation by the Public Service Commission and the Public Protector. I never received any feedback from the office of the president. I only received feedback from the portfolio committee during this week. After my plights were highlighted in the media. I also started a petition to highlight my plight to the president for my safety and protection. That petition is almost 35 000 now. I’ve done a lot. It is such a pity that the institutions for the protection of whistleblowers ignored all of my plights.”

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Implication of high ranking officials

Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has denied knowing Mashale but later said he was open to having a conversation with her. However, she believes he only said this because her report implicated him.

“He did deny knowing me. The reason why I sent my complaint directly to the office of the president is because I also implicated the minister in that report. There was an investigation by the former ICD which is now Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) back in 2010, whereby the minister was the National Commissioner back then. It’s actually the same complaint that I reported now in that report. Ipid gave me a final report. There were recommendations for all those people. All those people I implicated must be charged criminally. Bheki Cele and the former Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, buried this report.”

According to Mashale most officers who were implicated in that report actually went on to get promoted instead of being charged. General Joey Kers, Head of Crime Intelligence in the Northern Cape, is one of them. He was a brigadier before the report was released. Those who weren’t reported are either retired or are still in the force.


Reaching out to other political parties

One of the other options for Mashale is to get in touch with political parties in the hopes they will highlight this matter further. However, she is against the idea of doing this as she feels politics have already impacted the police in a detrimental way.

“I never made any representations to political parties. My stance on politics is this, it is because of the politicisation of the police that we are in the current state. If politics wasn’t involved in the police, we would have a functional police. Police shouldn’t be affiliated with politics. This isn’t a political matter. It is just plain corruption.”

The portfolio committee consists of members of various political parties. Mashale confirmed she has reached out to them and any information she shares with the head of the committee, she shares with them.

“Usually I send the information after I send a letter to the Chairperson of the portfolio committee. I will send that letter or information directly to them. One of them has actually told me they have been trying to put this matter on the agenda for a long time but they are always outnumbered by the governing party in the committee.”

At this point Mashale believes she has no choice but to continue to stay in hiding. As long as the president does not respond to her plight, she will continue to remain in hiding.

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