Dear students and colleagues
I am pleased to announce the launch of the University of Cape Town (UCT) ‘Speak Up Now!’ campaign, which aims to encourage people to blow the whistle when they become aware of unethical conduct or fraud involving UCT staff members, students or third parties. UCT is committed to a culture of zero tolerance towards fraud, corruption and irregular behaviour.
You can help by reporting irregularities and unethical conduct on the UCT Whistle-Blowing Hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During August we will be putting up posters across campus and at UCT entities to make the university community aware of this campaign.
Anyone can blow the whistle: staff, students, alumni, donors, service providers and members of the public. Whistle-blowing complaints may be anonymous if you so choose. The hotline is independent, confidential and private, and is able to field calls in 16 different languages – all official South African languages are accommodated.
A report is normally provided to UCT within 24 hours, and UCT undertakes to investigate all allegations made through the hotline. We rely on whistle-blowers to provide credible information to enable an investigation. Of course, any frivolous reporting does not advance the purpose of the hotline.
There are a number of ways to contact the Whistle-Blowing Hotline:
The Protected Disclosures Act of 2000 (as amended in 2017) provides for the reporting of unlawful or irregular conduct by employers, and for the protection of employees who blow the whistle. In June 2018 UCT invited Whistle Blowers (PTY) Ltd to provide training and share with the unions, finance managers, student representatives, human resources practitioners and other key internal stakeholders how the hotline operates. Most of those who were invited were able to participate in these workshops and discuss issues related to the integrity of the service and the confidentiality and privacy provided by Whistle Blowers (PTY) Ltd. All reports taken are subjected to a rigorous quality control process, assuring accuracy of information and the anonymity of the whistle-blower.
Please note that the hotline is not a substitute for reporting issues for which UCT already has systems in place. For example, there are clear policies that guide staff grievances and other work-related dissatisfactions. Matters relating to sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying should be reported to the Office for Inclusivity and Change.
The hotline is for matters that include illegal and unethical conduct, abuse of UCT property, exam irregularities, theft, fraud, bribery, conflict of interest, corruption, contravention of legislation and non-compliance with university policies. Reporting irregularities or suspicions of irregularities extends to UCT and all its entities.
If you believe there are matters that are not for the hotline, but deal with unfair practices and procedures, you may contact the Office of the Ombud.
The next hotline update will include a summary of the cases in 2018 that have been investigated and concluded.
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