I had no protection from Zondo Inquiry, says whistleblower Athol Williams

Athol Williams is a former Bain SA partner, a US-based management consultancy that allegedly held several meetings with former President Jacob Zuma to make strategic appointments.

A screengrab of former Bain partner Athol Williams giving evidence at the state capture inquiry on 23 March 2021. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - State capture whistle blower and author Athol Williams claims he received no protection after blowing the whistle at the Zondo Commission - even after raising concerns with the inquiry.

Williams released a statement on Sunday night, explaining the emotional and difficult decision he had to make last week.

He said he had received several warnings and the state failed to offer any protection.

Williams is a former Bain SA partner, a US-based management consultancy that allegedly held several meetings with former President Jacob Zuma to make strategic appointments.

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Williams left South Africa last week, detailing how he feared for his life.

Speaking from an undisclosed location abroad on Monday, Williams said he felt helpless and at risk, having implicated many people who he claims worked with Zuma as they planned how to capture the state.

Williams said even after raising the alarm and telling the Zondo Inquiry that he didn’t feel safe after testifying, he had not received any protection.

“Even to the Zondo Commission where I said I felt I was in danger, they asked if I had received a death threat and I said no. They said there was no danger then. How is it that we wait until someone’s got a gun to your head for them to decide if someone I in danger?”

Williams said even while preparing for the testimony at the commission, he realised how law firms also didn't want to help him presumably feeling it was too much of a risk.

“When I told them who my implicated parties are, without fail, all of them said ‘sorry, we can’t help you.’ Because either the people I implicated are too scary for them or are clients of theirs.”

He said leaving South Africa was the best thing to do.

“I was living in fear, I wasn’t leaving my apartment. When I did go out, I’d lie down on the back seat so that no one could see me. It was ridiculous how I was living, so the best thing for me to do was to leave, for my own safety.”

Williams' decision was also exacerbated by Babita Deokaran's assassination in August. She was another whistleblower who was shot dead in the south of Joburg after dropping off her child at school.

Eyewitness News has reached out to the state capture commission - but they were not able to respond yet.