Answers to common queries about the whistle-blowing hotline are listed below.
What is a whistle-blowing hotline?
A whistle-blowing hotline helps concerned employees and students, as well as third parties associated with the university to report fraudulent, corrupt and unethical practices in the university. The hotline is sometimes referred to as an ethics or fraud hotline. The hotline is confidential and anonymous.
Why does UCT need a whistle-blowing hotline?
UCT is committed to a culture of ethical compliance. Most cases of fraud at the workplace are carried out internally. To beat this problem, employees and other interested people need to report fraud, corruption or misconduct. Many organisations, including some of the universities in the country, have a whistle-blowing hotline.
What can I report to the hotline?
The following wrongdoings should be reported:
- criminal offences
- unethical behaviour or misconduct
- health and safety violations
- irregular awarding of tenders
- damage to the environment
- financial statement fraud
- student financial aid fraud
- misuse of property and assets including P-Cards
- misuse of donor grants and corruption.
This extends to ethics in the academic and research areas, including examinations.
The Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC) helps the UCT community with discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment in general, domestic violence and rape.
Who approved UCT's whistle-blowing hotline?
UCT's whistle-blowing guidelines were approved by Council in December 2010. These guidelines apply to all staff, students, consultants, vendors, contractors, and/or any other parties with a business relationship with the university.
Who is responsible for running the UCT hotline?
An external service provider is responsible for the UCT whistle-blowing hotline. Following a competitive bidding process, the University Risk Management Committee appointed an independent service provider for a period of 3 years to manage the UCT hotline. The hotline has been operational since 1 January 2015.
How do I get in touch with the hotline if I have information on corruption and unethical behaviour?
The UCT's hotline number is 0800 650 000 and the call centre operates 24 hours a day and is available 365 days a year.
This is a toll-free number if one is phoning from a Telkom landline.
Calls are fielded by experienced call centre agents in any of the official languages, as well as French, Dutch, German and Portuguese. All reported information is put on to a call-sheet and given to the correct person at the university.
Does the call centre cater for any languages besides English?
Yes, the call centre has agents that cater for all 11 official South African languages, as well as Dutch, German French and Portuguese.
I don't like call centre agents as they can be very annoying!
The qualified and trained call centre agents abide by the standards set by EthicsSA. They provide the highest quality of professionalism and ask questions that will assist in the investigation.
How can UCT protect me if I blow the whistle on corruption and unethical conduct?
Anyone with a reasonable basis for believing that an irregular act has occurred or is occurring has a responsibility to report this immediately. Anyone making a report must act in good faith when reporting an allegation, and must disclose all information available to him or her that is relevant to the matter. Whistle-blowers are protected by law.
The Protected Disclosures Act no 26 of 2000 makes provision for procedures in terms of which employees may disclose information anonymously regarding unlawful or irregular conduct by their employers or fellow employees. It is for this reason that all matters reported on the hotline will be referred to the Risk Management Committee to ensure that the necessary investigations have been carried out. Where corruption, fraud and/or abuse of property or assets are proven, the committee will ensure that the necessary action is taken against the perpetrators.
How long does it take to investigate matters reported to the hotline?
The investigations will vary from case to case. All cases reported to date through the hotline have been concluded. Allow for at least 3 weeks before making a follow-up call to the hotline.
Are there any cases that came through the hotline?
Yes a number of cases have already been reported and some resulted in disciplinary action after an investigation.
Can I report my supervisor if I’m not happy with how he/she treats me?
The whistle-blowing hotline is not a channel for reporting:
- employment grievances
- general complaints
- petty arguments
- personality clashes.
These can be dealt with through the university’s grievance procedures. The Office of the Ombud (see link on the left) provides a safe and objective environment where people can air their concerns, receive advice and discuss options.
What kind of information will I be expected to provide?
When a report is made, the following details should be given:
- In which division/department did the incident take place?
- Where specifically did it happen?
- What is the nature of the incident?
- Date and time the incident took place?
- How long has this been going on?
- How often does this happen?
- Number of people involved and names?
- Does anybody else know about it?
- Do you have any proof that could assist in the investigation?
- Are there any witnesses?
- Do you have any other relevant information which could be of assistance when undertaking an investigation?
Who can I talk to about the UCT hotline to get more information?
Mr Shai Makgoba, Finance Executive: Risk and Relationship Management can be contacted on +27 (0)21 650 2754. His email address is email@example.com