We Need a Societal Revolution, Mr. President!


My Letter addressed to the Honorable President Ramaphosa can be downloaded here.



Dear Honorable President,


Perhaps stupidly, I made a decision to make my whistleblowing and subsequent ‘consequences’ public. No-one important to me (except my Mom and still then, only on some days), supported the action to publicly display my trauma… (just like how no one supported my decision to blow the whistle on Trillian until after the fact). This, deeply personal decision has come with its own consequences which are not lost to me. Regardless, I am filled with self-pride in knowing that I walked this journey the best way that I could. I am so convicted by my values, that I don’t fear the whole world seeing my naked emotions! I also, perhaps again, naively, feel that I could perhaps be helping others who contemplate the road less travelled, as I have done. I write this paragraph with purpose. I know that many do not agree with my approach and feel that ‘things’ can be dealt with in better ways. I have found that these opinions are often shared with me, or through others, from people who do not have the ability to be empathetic to the enormity of my actions and perhaps, have not yet jumped on the millennial wagon of doing things. I am not sure how you may feel about my chosen platform, so best I place my disclaimer and motivation upfront (please note that my disclaimer is not on arial font size 1pnt!).


Last week, #StateCaptureReport was trending and because this is topical (and I suspect will be until at least the end of February 2022), I figured that I would join the ‘online march / protest’.


Mr. President, please allow me to describe who I believe I am, to you before I proceed. I believe that context may be necessary. For all intents and purposes, I am no one significant to you (I prove this later in this letter). In full transparency, I did not vote for you and its unlikely that I will in future. I am, however, a single mom who furthered my studies through bursaries i.e. I was not born into a family that could afford the luxury of tertiary education. I have a daughter and a dog, and my parents are very simple yet honest people. I drive a car that I bought when I was 30 and consider myself privileged to live in a small but safe home with my daughter and dog. When I studied, I chose to study what I love, which turned out to be logic-based subjects, physics and maths. I am a very simple citizen who loves this country. I have no intentions for my life other than hope that my daughter will one day also find herself safe and patriotic. So, as a mother who will leverage all her strengths, weaknesses, and embarrassment for the benefit of her child, I write this letter to you in the hope that you will hear my quiet, but I believe logical, plea to you.


As a single mom, I don’t have the luxury of following the news sans the hour before I fall asleep at night and with this limited exposure, I have noticed that over the past four years you have been vocal (I am not saying that this is all that you have done. But I am stating only what I have noticed) about the pandemic (you made numerous public statements) and the riots that broke out across the country following Mr. Zuma’s issues. On twitter and in your personal capacity (I assume) you have been stating your aspirations for the country and what the ANC plans for future. From the public statements that you have made in either capacity and resonated with me, I have noticed that you condemn violence and corruption and encourage values for a society that, quite frankly, I have not witnessed in my 42 years of living. To fight against the things that you condemn, you have sent troops to the affected areas, placed the country in lock down and supported a commission of inquiry. In support of your aspirations that you have for the country …. you have tweeted and have failed to call out those who have been proven to be implicated. You have dispensed a monthly social grant of R350 to those in need and COVID vaccinations are free.


Coming back to my subjective logical view, I notice that you act when people get hurt and or property is damaged, and you appear to adopt the politician approach otherwise. I think, this may be the reason for the hashtag #cupcake? I don’t know.


So, as a single mom who is trying to make a difference, I wonder if I will only get your attention when people get hurt or property is damaged? I wonder if that is the only trigger for you, to act?


I write this and feel hopeless. I feel hopeless because the fight to protect whistleblowers will never become a riot (I hope) nor will it compete with a global pandemic, even though the fight / protest / call for action has been ongoing globally for years. The people who are marching and protesting to you, for action, are civil society, whistleblowers and now more recently, a judge. This group is not violent and disruptive by nature. I also accept that supporting whistleblowers may compromise your political standing because many of your colleagues / friends / comrades / business partners are implicated, hence you don’t really have an incentive to even pretend that you have heard the numerous pleas …. The thing for me is this though – I am a single mother and a daughter of two former pastors who fiercely loves this country. I am relentless in my pursuit, even though I have nothing more to fight with! (www.biancagoodson.com) Like other South Africans before me, I won’t just give up. I will die trying. I know that I am South African, because despite the odds being against me, I will use the last bit of hope that I have, and I will write this letter. After this, I will not cause riots, I will not cause a commotion and become burdensome to the state. I will simply stay in my little lane and hope. This is all that a simple citizen can do.


Mr. President, until change happens, the fight for whistleblowers, I hope, will always be a respectful and peaceful one. It is up to you to change the way that issues are prioritized so that they are not always addressed based on riots and violence, rather also considered based on things that your personal twitter account makes public – a society with the right values!


The first part of the State Capture report has been handed over to you and of significance to me, are the recommendations made in terms of whistleblowing. Since been made public, I have studied these recommendations and feel obliged to share my experience with you in relation to these recommendations and as I, very simply; understand them.


In numerous blog posts, I have laid bare my journey of trauma since blowing the whistle on state capture. I very often refer to the psychotherapy that I have been receiving since 2018. I have come a long way in my therapy. Some success stories include that I no longer want to die (most days), I have started decreasing my meds and I have put many things in the right perspective. With this said, my journey of recovery will still be a long one. Regardless, and as brilliant as my therapist is, there is one thing that I have consistently raised in our sessions that even defeats her! It’s this: “How can doing the right thing come with such bad and horrible consequences?”. This stubs my psychiatrist who I have seen every week for over two years. As brilliant as she is, she cannot help me resolve this impasse. And regretfully, this is the root of my trauma.


It is the root of my trauma because it is the single biggest thing that defies my beliefs and values. I am conflicted in that I want to stand by my values and beliefs, but I cannot comprehend the full bouquet of consequences that have since befallen on me and my loved ones. From your public statements, you clearly also don’t support these consequences. You stated such when you appeared at the commission… but this part is key – more worryingly, you don’t and have not condemned it (per transaction, company etc.) unless it has resulted in death or harm. Making blanket statements about whistleblowers does not carry muster when South Africa does not acknowledge them! You refer to whistleblowers but who are they? How are they defined? May I use your reference in my next job application? And what do I do when my employer asks, “who declared you a whistleblower”?


So, I wonder, do I also have to die before you take action and I am acknowledged? I consider myself blessed to have a voice at this moment and I won’t change that.


For some context: when I read the report, I had a trauma trigger. I cried, vomited, and contemplated suicide again although I am strong now to not act on my feelings. I still feel emotional about the report because I feel that me and many others were simply acknowledged by the DCJ. In his recommendations, he made public again, the hurt and fear that many of us simply ignore, try to live with and try to hide. The DCJ’s acknowledgement has gravitas for me by virtue of who the DCJ is and what he represents. He is bigger than us and he saw the struggle, value and importance in us.


Mr President, when you received the report, you stated that law enforcement agencies should act and not wait until June 2022 when you give your recommendations to Parliament. Why didn’t you do the same for whistleblowers and the related recommendations?


Like me, there are a thousand little pleas … there are many whistleblowers. We have been begging for years! Read Mandy Weiner’s book and so many other authors. When will you hear us? The DCJ has already spoken. What more will it take?


As an example of a tiny little voice, I wrote to you in October 2021 (Attached here). There was no response. The nation screamed when Mrs. Babita Doekaran died, there is no action from you.


But here is the humorous part of your statement … for law enforcement to act on the report, and not to wait, who will be their witnesses against the corrupt? Mr. President, it will be whistleblowers. So, logically, I deduce the following – you have encouraged action, but you refuse to acknowledge (as the DCJ has) the people that will support and enable that said action. For me, logic would dictate that your critical path i.e. witnesses, should be protected before you encourage the action. Not so? Without witnesses, how can you have a trial?

Mr. President, I have belabored my point on your response to the report which is simply this – you have put out conflicting messages that could easily result in the harm to many! You have an opportunity to be proactive and do the right thing. Will you?


The DCJ has recommended a mechanism in which whistleblowers may receive compensation based on specific conditions. I fully agree with the recommendation but wish to simply table something simpler and costs nothing. Again, wearing my single mom hat and paying respect to the home that I come from, Mr. President, would you consider a simple acknowledgment or thank you?


Again, for some context – PPLAAF recommended three whistleblowers for consideration of a national order last year. It was not accepted and that is fine. The way that I was brought up, if someone did something good or in your favor, one would appreciate it and at a minimum, say thank you. So for example, if a kid at school stole my lunch and a teacher retrieved it after I raised hell, I would say thank you to the teacher who helped return my lunch. Ms. Mothepu and I have helped return R1,6 billion to Eskom that was stolen. Mr. De Ruyter acknowledged our contribution (download here). Will you? Ultimately, you are the custodian of the fiscus, right? Am I wrong in thinking that you should say thank you to those who help return what was stolen from you? The presidency did not consider Mr. Williams, Mr. Mothepu and I as recipients for a national order. Nor have you publicly acknowledged any whistleblower that I can recall. Again, Mr. President, your messages are conflicting. Your left hand cannot implore a honest and transparent society whilst your right hand puts those brave people in harm’s way by encouraging action without the same emphasis being placed on wholistic protection (safety, financial, psychological).


If you simply google “impact to whistleblowers” you will be credibly informed of how difficult the journey is. If you can’t do that, simply scroll through my blog, or read any of the numerous books published by whistleblowers and on behalf of whistleblowers.


Whistleblowers need action now to enable law enforcement to act now.


As the number one citizen in this country, I call on you to affect a societal revolution and I implore you to ‘get with the program’ and start doing more for them / us!


I respect that the DCJ’s recommendations considers prevailing legislation. I am not a politician as I have mentioned. I am a simple citizen and for this reason, my personal recommendations (free, quick and easy) for your consideration are

  • Personal protection for whistleblowers. Hopefully people like Mr. Williams will then consider returning to the country to support law enforcement.


  • Financial support for whistleblowers who have lost their jobs and face legal intimidation.


  • Acknowledge whistleblowers individually.


  • Destigmatisation of whistleblowing. This will assist whistleblowers in not being caste out of society and employment. This country has successfully done this in the past (education for HIV / AIDs resulted in a destigmatisation of those infected, we have broken the boundaries of racial bias etc.).


Personally, I consider the points above to be the societal revolution that will encourage transparency and honesty in our country; the values that you have encouraged. I have tried to champion such a movement, but I am not “number one”. You are.

Sincerely,


Ms. Bianca Goodson

.

67 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All