Wendy Addison was a whistle blowerâ€”but not just any whistle blower. Wendy Addison was a whistle blower in 2000 South Africa. And in 2000 South Africa, there just wasnâ€™t a lot of protection for whistle blowers. Addison was in danger, and the government couldnâ€™tâ€”or wouldnâ€™tâ€”help her.
In 2000, Addison was the treasurer for one of the biggest, most powerful, and most popular firms in South Africa. Right from the beginning of her work there, years before, Addison recognized that the two heads of the company, didnâ€™t always play by the rules. But it was when the company acquired a second company Addison discerned enormous conflicts of interest for her bosses.
Going to the companyâ€™s outside auditors wasnâ€™t an option, because one of the senior partners of the auditing company was also on the executive team of the company they were charged to audit. So Addison made an anonymous phone call to the nationâ€™s Revenue Services and then left them a report.
Things went downhill fastâ€”Addisonâ€™s anonymity disappeared. Within weeks, her company was being liquidated. Addison was subpoenaed to testify, and shortly after that started receiving death threats. Having no protection, Addison took her 12-year-old son and left South Africa for England. She initially got a job with a British airline but when the owner found out she was the notorious South African whistle blower, he fired her.
Addison was out of options: no company in England would hire her. Every time Addison approached a company for work, her past squelched the deal. She and her son actually walked the streets, begging for food. She collected welfare for several years, returned to South Africa in 2005, could not receive compensation for her work, could not even get legal representation, and a few months later went back to England, this time for good.
Keep track of Addisonâ€™s work at www.speakout-speakup.org.