The insult to the dignity of whistleblower Athol Williams and the violation of his rights are profoundly disturbing
22 August 2022 – 15:40
Nicole Fritz has already excoriated the purported apology to SA from Bain, the facilitators of state capture who masquerade as management consultants in SA (“Deeply cynical Bain’s damage control does little to fix the harm done in SA”, August 15).
The insincerity of the apology was further highlighted when Bain’s local “managing partner”, Stephen York, gave an interview on radio. He was asked a legitimate question about former Bain partner turned whistleblower Athol Williams. Tellingly, York could not bring himself to say the name of Bain’s nemesis, choosing to call Williams “that individual”. This stratagem reveals all one needs to know about the shallowness of the purported apology. Bain has clearly learned nothing from the successful UK campaign against it led by Lord Peter Hain.
The insult to Williams’s dignity and the violation of his rights to psychological integrity and fair labour practices (all of which are protected by the bill of rights) are profoundly disturbing not only to Williams but to all right-thinking people. A truly apologetic party does not resort to upsetting, dehumanising and rendering anonymous a whistleblower whose testimony has been found to be acceptable by the chief justice.
Bain ducked and dived during the state capture commission. The faux apology is just more of the same. All SA whistleblowers are the true heroes of the state capture disaster. Without them the horrific truth would not have been revealed. They deserve respect for their ethical fortitude and moral courage. Ostracising whistleblowers is a relic of apartheid-era revulsion against impimpis. In modern SA, those who stand up against corruption should be treated with respect for being engaged and active citizens who are prepared to stand up for what is right for their country and its people.
Bain has inflicted huge financial damage in SA, for which it should be sued by the government for reparations far in excess of the fees it charged. Bain probably carries insurance against this type of claim. The whistleblowers who are reviled for their preparedness to stand up against the tsunami of corruption should be empowered to sue the likes of Bain for contractual, delictual and constitutional damages, the harm they unjustifiably suffer for doing the right thing.
Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now