UP Ethics Hotline: Your voice is heard

Posted on February 01, 2019

The University of Pretoria is committed to being a model corporate citizen and this means there is zero-tolerance for criminal or irregular behaviour by staff, students and suppliers.

All complaints received from whistle-blowers are dealt with in terms of the Protected Disclosures Act and the UP Whistle-blowers Policy. Whistle-blowers have a right to remain anonymous and to be protected from reprisal and discrimination.

The Unit for Internal Audit, together with the Office of the Registrar, investigates all complaints received via the independent UP Ethics Hotline, which is operated by Mazars Forensic Services, a private audit firm. Responsible reporting and investigation of alleged irregularities promotes a culture of transparency and accountability.

The UP Hotline was established in 2011 and has received over 200 complaints to date, all of which have been investigated and where possible, feedback has been given to the complainants. 

“Whistle-blowing is internationally recognised as the main mechanism for uncovering fraud and non-compliance. Very few corporate crimes and irregularities happen in the dark. There is often someone who sees or hears about it and who cares enough about the organisation to try to either stop it from happening or at least ensure that the perpetrators do not get away with damaging UP or our stakeholders”, says UP’s Head of the Unit for Internal Audit, Olga Granova-Mooi. 

Maggie Moleko, an audit manager at the Unit, explains the whistle-blowing process as follows: “Each complaint is recorded in UP’s Whistle-blowing register and is investigated, and if the whistle-blower provides their contact details, they receive feedback. Whistle-blowing may be verbal or written and may be anonymous. Staff, students, alumni, donors, service providers and the general public can all report matters of genuine concern. It should however be noted that malicious allegations are prohibited by legislation as well as by the UP policies”.

The Unit for Internal Audit comprises a professional team of seven auditors and investigators, and has a co-sourcing contract with a private audit firm. “We as the Unit, are proud to help the University to continuously strengthen its corporate governance processes and improve its internal controls,” says Carin Erasmus, an audit manager at the Unit. “The sustained success of UP is important for the socio-economic upliftment of our community and the country in general,” adds Carin.

To ensure that the Unit remains independent from management, it reports directly to the Audit, IT and Risk Management Committee of UP’s Council for all internal audit matters, such as reviews of various academic and administrative processes at the University and its entities for compliance with prescribed requirements.
According to Hein le Roux, a senior forensic specialist at the Unit, people are often unaware of the rules and regulations with which they need to comply in their daily work activities and thus they do not realise the extent of damage their non-compliant conduct may cause to the business continuity of the organisation. 

The Unit urges staff and students to be aware of legislation and UP policies and to ensure they comply with the applicable requirements.

How to blow the whistle

Contact the UP Ethics Hotline:
Toll Free: 0800227007
Fax: 0865104291
Email: [email protected]
Post: JHZ 1815, Helderkruin, 1733, South Africa

Alternatively, contact UP’s Unit for Internal Audit on [email protected]

- Author Shakira Hoosain

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