The Women of Corruption Watch: Fierce and feisty, meet our investigations officer Zanele Mwale
Posted by Nosimilo Ramela on 7 September 2016 2:35 PM CAT
We continue to celebrate the women of Corruption Watch (CW). Meet the ladies who wake up every day and help fight corruption one task at a time.
Zanele Mwale is the investigations officer at CW. She is tasked with digging deep into the reports that come to us. For her this job is not a responsibility but rather a dream come true because helping people is her number one pursuit in life.
If you were an animal what would you be? A bird, they live on land and in the sky, so they have a choice to live in two spaces.
Where do you hail from? Mpumalanga.
What is your position at Corruption Watch? Investigations officer.
Why did you choose to join an organisation such as CW? My career and my dreams were in conflict. I wanted to do something I hadn’t studied for and didn’t have experience in. I joined CW to follow my dreams - fortunately I was employed and I’m currently pursuing my dream. My dream is to help people.
Tell me a bit more about your work at CW? I investigate issues and reports that we receive. I advise on matters outside our mandate. I also refer matters that are within our mandate, but we are unable to help with, to individuals, companies and private companies.
Are you involved in any community or social leadership work outside of your work at CW or before joining CW? Yes, I am involved in a homebased NGO called Sakhisizwe. Every month I donate a certain amount of money to the organisation and I also help them get funding to build a better home on an ongoing basis.
What are your overall perceptions on corruption in this country? It’s a huge thing that is affecting our country, something people talk about every day. I think about it particularly because of our line of work. We are constantly trying to find out how to resolve it and making recommendations to government and partners.
What are your opinions on CW’s fight on corruption? From the beginning till now, we’ve improved so much. Citizens know about us. However, we must improve, we must improve on delivery.
How do you think women specifically can help fight corruption? What do you think is the role of the women in the fight against corruption? I think previously women were deprived of being involved in pertinent issues and structures such as education and politics. We must equip ourselves as women and know politics and economics so in future we can have women leaders.
What are your views on social justice issues such as crime and unemployment, specifically where they affect women? It has a huge impact because if you empower women you empower society. When you don’t empower women and when women suffer so does society.
Would you say you are a corruption fighter/warrior? Yes.
What are you doing to fight corruption? Before I became a corruption fighter I may have attempted to pay a bribe, now I don’t. Where there are attempts to get me to pay a bribe I’m very alert and I choose not to do any, that’s how I fight corruption.
What are the moments that stand out in your work as part of the fight against corruption so far? Enrolling for a forensic investigation higher certificate and being accepted as an investigation officer for CW - that stands out.
August is Women’s Month; do you think it’s still important to celebrate Women’s Day and Women’s Month? Why? Yes, but I think we need to understand the meaning for the celebration, every women needs to understand the meaning of the day.
What do you think should be the focus of such a commemoration? It should not focus much on the former struggle; the focus needs to be more on the future.
What did you do on August 09? I didn’t go anywhere, just stayed at home.
Have you ever been involved in any corruption yourself? Ever cheated in a school test? Paid a bribe? Yes, I have.
When you are not fighting corruption what do you get up to? I’m at home and attending to family issues or other social issues affecting neighbours and my community.
Who is your corruption fighting hero and why? Thuli Madonsela, because she stood as a woman against high profile individuals and exposed what is happening behind closed doors to the country as a whole.
What message do you have for fellow women corruption fighters out there? We all have to equip ourselves with skills and knowledge.