Your Comments And Valued Input Keep Us Motivated And Inspired
I met Mr Marko Vogler and his wife Debbie on 15 July 2008 after a mutual friend requested me to meet the couple as I am a senior opposition member of the Justice and Constitutional Development Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly, South Africa. I was joined by a fellow member of parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley. Marko and his wife informed us of their serious allegations of financial misconduct and possible corruption in the Land Bank of South Africa . During the course of the interview, I was particularly shocked by the manner in which this whistleblower had been treated as a potential witness. As I understand the situation, the family had to leave their home town after an attempt was made on Marko's life was threatened, leaving behind their home, business and careers. Whilst the trauma of this sudden relocation was partially bearable by knowledge that the family would be safe, without any warning they were removed from the witness protection program. The reason given was that their evidence was no longer needed. As an elected representative, I am extremely concerned by the manner in which this family was treated and have undertaken to take up the issue with the Witness Protection Unit when the unit appears before the Justice and Constitutional Development Committee later this year.
We have also undertaken to pursue the Land Bank allegations and will be requesting relevant forensic and other reports relating to the allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the Land Bank. However, it is apparent Marko has sacrificed a huge amount both from a personal and business perspective. The question arises how many people in a similar situation would be prepared to give up everything to expose corruption. Only this week the Public Service Commission said that corruption in the public sector is "frightful" as it had received more than 5000 complaints since 2004. Regrettably the rate of completed investigations was "dismally low". One of the reasons is a lack of witnesses - people are not prepared to put everything on the line to expose corruption.
Our Supreme Court of Appeal in the S v Shaik (2007 1 240 SCA) matter emphasised the following regarding corruption: "The seriousness of the offence of corruption cannot be overemphasised. It offends against the rule of law and the principles of good governance. It lowers the moral tone of a nation and negatively affects development and the promotion of human rights. As a country we have travelled a long and tortuous road to achieve democracy. Corruption threatens our constitutional order. We must make every effort to ensure that corruption with its putrefying effects is halted." Our nation requires more such persons as Marko who are prepared to expose corruption and mismanagement. Despite huge sacrifices, with even an attempt having been made on his life, he has persevered in fighting and exposing corruption. Our public administration is being ravaged by corruption, and it is time for citizens of conscience to take a stance in exposing corruption. In our view, Marko's exemplary stance is worthy of recognition by Transparency International and we fully endorse hi nomination. STEVE SWART
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND MEMBER OF THE JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
Dear Marko and Debbie
Congratulations on your good pioneering work. Let us save our Country from the scourge of greed, personal aggrandizement and ultimate destruction. We must fight for leaders with unquestionable integrity. Those who are corrupt, in spite of their rhetoric and grandiose posturing, DO NOT LOVE THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY, for, if they did they would not rob them of resources needed for development. This is an ongoing fight we MUST win! We are protecting our descendants' inheritance. Ours is a long hard fight, but a worthwhile one! CORRUPTION IS ASPECIAL CRIME. It is a crime against the people, it is any affront to our people, our nation and those who commit it, deserve special recognition as ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE who let loose their ravenous desires on the people, who pillage and plunder resources of the nation, who rob us of the means to fight poverty and underdevelopment
Chief Land Claims Commissioner (Acting)
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Taxpayers pay taxes to the state with the understanding that the state will use these funds to the advantage of all the citizens of the country. A taxpayer therefore pays taxes trusting that his/her contributions will improve his/her and other citizens' lives through the services which the government has to render. Therefore, a relationship of trust exists between the government and taxpayers.
The application, management and control of taxes are one of the cornerstones of a just and healthy democracy. Clean administration of taxes ensures a democratic government in the interest of all its citizens. It is however officials who play the biggest role in the fulfilment of this clean administration. To ensure clean administration, integrity, modesty, reliability and honesty are required from all government officials. Unfortunately there are always officials who do not posses these life skills and characteristics. It's those who are guilty of corruption for enriching their friends, their families and themselves with millions rand worth of tax moneys. Corruption does not only undermine democracy, but in essence it is the stealing of taxpayers' money.
The ugly face of corruption is that it is influential, powerful, untouchable and dangerous. Corruption does not even hesitate to commit murder in order to protect itself. Anybody who opposes corruption, and fights against influence, authority and power exposes themselves to danger. To fight corruption and to reveal it does not only require integrity, modesty, reliability and honesty, but it also requires boldness, bravery and perseverance.
Marko Vogler did not hesitate to reveal and publicise corruption involving millions of rand. Not only at a price to himself but also to his wife and children. The danger is so great that the government decided that he and his family needed special protection. They were placed in a witness protection program. Suddenly the government decided to withdraw the protection. Through this, Marko and his family were left defenceless, unprotected and vulnerable. Even the government had failed them. Despite this, Marko is still prepared to testify against those who were perpetrating corruption. It requires more than mere integrity, modesty, reliability, honesty, boldness, bravery and perseverance. For this reason I recommend Marko Vogler for a meritorious award against corruption.
PIETER GROENEWALD (MP) 17 JUNE 2008.
MOTIVATION FOR REWARD BY TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL TO MARKO VOGLER
Motivation by Anchen Dreyer MP
I became aware of the existence of mr. Marko Vogler in May 2007, after his father mr. Fritz Vogler, acting on behalf of Marko, had contacted mr. Roger Burrows, MPL and DA provincial leader in KwaZulu Natal, regarding serious allegations of financial misconduct and possible corruption in the Land Bank. As I was a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) in Parliament, I took up the case and Burrows as well as Fritz Vogler sent me all the supporting documentation.
During the Scopa meeting on 9 May 2007, I referred to information contained in the documents given to me by Fritz Vogler, thus making public the serious allegations referred to by his son Marko.
As a forensic investigation was already underway, I also handed the documents to the Ryno Pepler from the Deloitte team responsible for the investigations. However, this development soon got into the public domain and Marko Vogler became the subject of very unpleasant incidents, including an effort to run him over while he was walking on a pavement in his hometown, Pennington in KwaZulu-Natal, causing Marko to fear for his life. I managed to arrange through the deputy minister of Justice, Johnny de Lange that the Marko Vogler and his family be taken up in the witness protection programme.
They had to leave their home town, disrupt their business and careers and uproot their children from their schools and friends, to settle in a strange town where they knew very few people and had to live in isolation. Despite serious disruptions to their family life, the Vogler family thought that at least they were safe from further intimidation and life threatening events. However, at the end of December they were suddenly informed that they could no longer enjoy the relative safety provided by the witness protection programme, and were given very short notice to vacate the safe house.
Despite further appeals from myself to the deputy minister of Justice, the department insisted that they had to leave. Although the investigation into the alleged criminal conduct of senior officials at the Land Bank had then not been completed, and no report had been submitted to Parliament, the Vogler family were literally thrown to the wolves.
While the government seems to have failed a whistle blower, fortunately civil society and their church specifically responded compassionately and generously to their plight.
What is important though is that despite severe personal sacrifices to himself and his family, Marko persevered in his quest to help fight corruption. He believes in open and clean government, accountable to the people and he was willing to make a contribution toward achieving that end. Democracy will survive and flourish only if ordinary citizens like Marko Vogler are prepared to hold government to account, and to blow the whistle when necessary.
The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the oldest and largest Chamber of Commerce in South Africa. It promotes and aims to create an environment that is conducive to sound, honest and positive business activities, free of the evils of crime, fraud and corruption. Corruption, both in the public and the private sector, distorts competitive processes, fuels unfair enrichment and hampers true economic growth. Bribery and corruption are a cancer in our society.
The Chamber supports Marko and Debbie Vogler in their efforts to expose and fight corruption. We join them in working towards an environment that is free of bribery and corruption.
Albert Schuitmaker Cape Regional Chamber of Commerce
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Exposing corruption is of utmost importance around the World. More so on the African Continent and here in South Africa where serious poverty is a reality. Corrupt people whether from Government or the private sector, are thieves as they are stealing either from Taxpayers their employers or their shareholders. Studying and analysing corruption and focussing on those who stand accused of corruption shows that they do not come from all walks of life. It is the rich and famous and powerful who are caught being involved in corruption. They are responsible for the poor getting poorer.
Identifying the corruptor and those being corrupted are necessary and those who manage to do just that should receive awards, medals and should even be rewarded financially, taking into account what he or she saved that institution.
The Landbank like the Reserve Bank and Development Bank were icons in the South African Financial World, supporting farmers to feed our population.
Corrupt senior officials and Board Members have made sure that this institution is on the brink of collapse. Also the responsible Cabinet Minister was inefficient in dealing with the problems which surfaced a long time ago.
Marko Vogler in 2007 reported serious allegations of financial misconduct and possible corruption in the Land Bank. Instead of giving him a medal or an award, his life was threatened, he went into a Witness protection programme but was kicked out in Dec 2007 leaving him and his family totally exposed.
Business Against Crime in the Western Cape is very much active in white collar and commercial crime which includes all forms of corruption. We are thankful that people like Marko Vogler has the courage to come forward and speak out.
Without hesitation we recommend Marko for a meritorious award against corruption.