Professor Natasja Holtzhausen obtained a BA degree in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria (UP). She joined UP’s School of Public Management and Administration as an associate professor in May 2012.
She chooses to do research at UP because the University creates an enabling environment for researchers and supports research endeavours.
“At the core of society lies ethics, and without ethics, values and norms, we would become a society that does not care,” Prof Holtzhausen says about her field of research. “I firmly believe that the work I do in anti-corruption efforts, and especially the much-contended protection of whistle-blowers, is essential for society.”
For Prof Holtzhausen, her field of research contributes to creating an enabling environment for people who disclose wrongdoing. She adds that ethics champions are essential for a better world. Her personal hashtag is: #workthatmatters
Prof Holtzhausen, who serves on the Gauteng Ethics Advisory Council, is currently focusing on areas related to the workstream that she leads on the legislative framework as well as policy issues. In her personal capacity, she recently started exploring lessons that can be learned from disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic on corruption efforts, and matters relating to public procurement and the role of whistle-blowers.
Academically speaking, she strives to contribute to creating an environment where whistle-blowing or the act of disclosing wrongdoing becomes part of an ethogenic organisational culture, similar to internal control. Her research matters, she says, if one considers, as an example, the various corruption indices and what happens to whistle-blowers in South Africa.
“Those that disclose wrongdoing must be protected and we need to collectively work towards enforcing anti-corruption efforts,” she says. “Corruption steals from every single citizen every day.”
Prof Holtzhausen’s advice to school learners or undergraduates who are interested in her field is to firstly “stand in authenticity and ethical behaviour”.
“We need to be and do good,” she says. “Do not think that you will change the world. Make a change or a difference in your circle of influence.”
Prof Holtzhausen says she loves humans and animals, and considers herself an activist.
“I am proudly Pan-African and I enjoy contributing to change on our beautiful continent.”
In her spare time, she likes to read non-fiction and always has an audiobook on the go.
“I enjoy autobiographies narrated by the authors themselves. I fancy myself an urban farmer and love to grow vegetables. When I get the chance, I dance.”