LETTER: Mervyn Dirks and whistle-blowers
Zondo report calls for their protection, so ANC MP’s suspension puts president in a difficult spot
The situation involving ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has placed the country’s president in a difficult position. I mention this mainly because of the party’s recent actions against Dirks. I am not privy to the reasons behind his suspension, but under the circumstances many of us sitting far from these developments will assume someone in leadership abused their power to suspend him. The only reasonable action to counter this perception will be to fully communicate the reasons for his suspension.
The question this situation raises is simple: who will stand up against influential leaders when they go astray? The government has called on us to protect whistle-blowers, so I assume our leaders will be taking harsh action against anyone who is perceived to be persecuting them.
It is time to reflect on the Zondo commission outcomes. Let’s take a cue from the commission’s initial report. We need to protect and support anyone willing to come forward to defend our country’s finances and future development.
My advice to the president is he must not remain silent when the principles of good corporate governance are compromised; the tone at the top is critical for several reasons but especially because we must remove perceptions of the abuse of power, or that the government is protecting its current head.
Let corporate governance win. The sound principles that work in the private sector are also there for the public sector. Ramaphosa’s presidency has been exemplary; he must not allow this incident to tarnish his image.
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