SAPS whistleblower: a fearless truth-teller shaped by horrific tragedy

South African Police Services (SAPS) whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale has revealed how her tragic childhood and her late mother’s uncompromising truth-telling have inspired her to live her truth until she does have not have a voice anymore. In a heart-breaking, but spiritually uplifting, interview with BizNews she shares the story of her life: a father who died after being set alight by an employer, a mother killed by a hit-and-run taxi driver, and how she worked nights at a hospital while still at school so that she could raise her orphaned step siblings. Despite relentless persecution and prosecution because she dared to expose wrongdoing in the South African police, Morgan-Mashale will not be intimidated or frightened into silence. She says it is not death that she fears, but leaving her children behind in a world being destroyed by corruption because she chose to stay silent. Listen to her story in her own words…Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:12 – Introductions
  • 00:55 – Patricia Morgan-Mashale on the tragic death of her father
  • 01:50 – On the mystery surrounding his death
  • 03:13 – Her mother
  • 04:06 – Where did she work and her death
  • 06:25 – On how she managed to raise her siblings despite the tragedy
  • 08:08 – On becoming a student nurse after matric
  • 08:30 – What made her decide to become a police officer
  • 11:32 – Corruption at SAPS
  • 13:09 – On why she became a whistleblower and the values instilled by her mom
  • 14:58 – If she’s ever doubted being a whistleblower
  • 16:23 – No fear of death
  • 17:33 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

South African Police Services (SAPS) whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale has revealed how her tragic childhood and her late mother’s uncompromising truth-telling have inspired her to “live her truth” until she “does not have a voice anymore”.

In a heart-breaking, but spiritually uplifting, interview with BizNews she shares the story of her life: a father who died after being set alight by an employer, a mother killed by a hit-and-run taxi driver, and how she worked nights at a hospital while still at school so that she could raise her orphaned step siblings.

Despite relentless persecution and prosecution because she dared to expose wrongdoing in the South African police, Morgan-Mashale says it is not death that she fears, but leaving her children a world being destroyed by corruption because she chose to stay silent.

The first tragedy in her life struck in 1975 when her panel beater father, Abraham Morgan, was killed in a horrific manner. “He was set alight by his employer. They actually threw petrol on him and then he set him alight. And then he had like very, very bad burns, like third degree burns. And apparently he died three days later in hospital.”

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Patricia says the family are still searching for the truth behind the murder of her father. “…I have been doing my research throughout the years…to find the man who killed my father, but in archives, old newspapers, whatever, I couldn’t find anything. So up to today there’s still this question that I ask myself too: “Why did he kill my father?”

Following her father’s death, Patricia’s mother, Selina Morgan, was left widowed with three kids between the ages of five and a few months old. “And she was unemployed. She had to leave the rural areas with the three kids to the city to come and seek a job,” Patricia recalls.

The only work her mother could get was as a maid, but she eventually found employment at a bank.  

But, in 1995, tragedy struck again when her mother was hit by a taxi on the way back from a funeral.  “…she died on the spot. It was a hit-and-run.”

It is her late mother that Patricia credits with instilling in her the values that turned her into such a fearless whistleblower.

“…when I look at my mother, every time she talks to me, she will just tell me something as it is. And every time I saw her talking to someone else, she would say something like it is. And sometimes, or…I say most of the time, it was very embarrassing for us as children…for our mother to be so straight up about things. But then again, she would ask me, did I lie? If I lie, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be apologetic about the truth. And I’m not going to teach my children to be apologetic about the truth. You speak the truth, and you be unapologetic about it whatever happens – even if you stand alone, then you stand alone … .If something feels wrong, then you must know that it’s probably wrong.”

Despite living with the constant danger that she could be assassinated at any time for exposing corruption in SAPS, Patricia remains unbowed. 

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“And regardless of the price that I paid, regardless of the challenges that I went through, regardless of the challenges that my children went through, I will do it over and over and over again. 

“And even my children will tell you, when you maybe got a chance to interview one of them, that this is what their mother taught them. And wherever they go, wherever they work, they are doing exactly what I taught them. 

“So for us, it was not a question of you have to choose between a rock and a hard place. It came naturally because that is part of our DNA, can I say. It is part of what we are. So, should I go through everything that I’m going through now and someone showed me a preview of what is going to happen to me, I will still do it again.

“As I said…I will never give up….I will live my truth until I don’t have a voice anymore. That’s how I feel about it. 

“…eventually all of us are going to die. I can’t be held hostage by my fears of maybe getting killed, and then I say that I will not talk out about corruption or wrongdoing because I might get killed. 

“I’m like my mother and my father…they didn’t expect that they would die at the time that they died. So anyone can die anytime; so I’m not afraid to die. 

“The only thing that I’m afraid of is to leave my children in a world that is being destroyed by corruption – and I was afraid to speak out. That is what I’m afraid of.”

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