The University of Pretoria (UP) strives to instil a value-driven organisational culture and emphasises the importance of a sound value framework, as stated in its vision and mission statements and code of conduct. To meet these objectives, UP supports and fosters a culture of zero tolerance towards fraud and corruption in all its activities.
To this end UP’s Executive Management decided to introduce a mechanism to bring any fraudulent, corrupt or unethical business and academic practices to light by means of a confidential Ethics Hotline where staff, students, external service providers and members of the public can anonymously report irregularities. This practice is in line with the King Report on Corporate Governance (2009) and is standard best practice throughout the world.
The Ethics Hotline, run independently by KPMG Ethics Line, provides for a call centre that is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so that people who are afraid to be overheard using telephones in their offices can call from home after hours. Calls to the Ethics Hotline from a Telkom line are free. KPMG has proven expertise in running an independent hotline and will manage the line on behalf of UP.
Protection of whistle-blowers
Both the University and KPMG Ethics Line are committed to protecting whistle-blowers at all cost. The person reporting the alleged misconduct remains anonymous and will not suffer any retribution for reporting the alleged incident. Malicious allegations could, however, result in action against those who make them.
A three-step process
The process for using the Ethics Hotline has been streamlined to make it as easy as possible to report misconduct. The first step is to choose one of the following communication channels:
Dial the toll-free telephone number: 0800 200 651 from any Telkom line.
Step two is to report any fraud, corruption or unethical behaviour within UP. Anonymity is guaranteed. As a third step the person who has made the call will be given a confidential reference number by the operator.
It is hoped that staff, students, external service providers and other stakeholders will use the Ethics Hotline facility responsibly in support of UP stamping out fraud, corruption and unethical behaviour.