On 4 December 2015 the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services published an explanatory summary of the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill, 2015 (“the Bill”). The Bill aims to amend the Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000 (“PDA”). The PDA provides for the procedure that must be followed for disclosing unlawful behaviour in the workplace by private and public sector employees and sets out how such disclosure is to be protected. The Bill will soon be tabled in parliament.
The Bill aims to:
- Extend the scope of employees who are able to claim protection under the PDA to include contract workers and those employees provided by a temporary employment service providers (“TES / labour brokers”);
- Introduce a civil claim for any alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement;
- Impose a duty to investigate a protected disclosure on a person or body to whom a protected disclosure is made;
- Require a recipient of a protected disclosure to respond in writing to the employee concerned setting out how the investigation is proceeding and provide timelines within which the investigation will be completed;
- Empower employees to approach the court for relief if they face detrimental behaviour from employers;
- Immunise employees from civil and criminal liability flowing from a disclosure that reveals criminal activity; and
- Make the disclosure of false information an offence.