SA whistle-blower who is in hiding speaks out after award

A South African winner of a whistle-blowing prize who is now in hiding has said that her efforts to expose alleged corruption in the police force were worth it despite threats to her life.

“I am doing this as a mother for a better future for my children. I want to rebuild South Africa and I will stay in South Africa until I see justice,” Patricia Mashale told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The international group Blueprint for Free Speech has named her as one of the five winners of its 2022 Whistleblowing Awards

She was working as an administrator in a police unit in South Africa’s Free State province when she reported corruption in appointments as well as disciplinary hearings, the Mail and Guardian reported.

She was charged with misconduct for bringing the police into disrepute at the beginning of the year. Then “after 15 years of service, Ms Mashale was dismissed after she refused to attend a misconduct hearing chaired by one of the police officials she had implicated in corruption”, Blueprint for Free Speech says.

Ms Mashale heard that some people in the police were trying to kill her because of these accusations.

She told the BBC that she was recently involved in a high-speed car chase after she had left the place where she was in hiding to go and see her children.

Despite the consequences, she felt that blowing the whistle was a duty. “It’s just being ethical; the fact that I signed an oath of office to speak out about corruption,” Ms Mashale said.