“The road to justice is a long, arduous and often lonely one, but the journey is worth undertaking.”
Kantha Padayachee was suspended from her job in KZN’s department of health after she blew the whistle on a tender given to a Uruguayan businessman with ties to the ANC.
Padayachee had worked for the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal for almost a decade before she was appointed to the head of the legal department in 2009.
In February 2010 she was suspended, one day after making a statement to the Hawks, who were investigating a R144-million tender to supply water purification plants to the health department. The tender had gone to Intaka Holdings, a company owned by Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi, allegedly in exchange for a donation to ANC party coffers.
Padayachee said that ANC provincial treasurer and former Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, had told her that there was pressure to sign off on the deal with Savoi’s company because he would be making a donation to the ANC – allegedly R1-million.
Several senior provincial government officials were initially charged with money laundering, racketeering and fraud, including ANC provincial treasurer Peggy Nkonyeni and economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu – the NPA has subsequently withdrawn the charges against both individuals.
Since being suspended in 2010, Padayachee has fought her suspension and disciplinary process in court, draining her and her family both financially and emotionally.
Padayachee is the mother of two, and the long battle has been taken its toll on her and her family. Padayachee has also faced claims of racism, which she says are groundless.
In November 2013, nearly four years later, her case ended in an out-of-court settlement.
Keep reading: ‘The pain of blowing the whistle’
Kantha Padayachee featured in R2K’s 2014 Whistleblower Calendar. Find out more.