UCT has been operating a whistle-blowing hotline since 2015. A number of complaints have been received via the hotline. The Registrar is the custodian of the whistle-blowing guidelines and the hotline is managed by the Risk Compliance and Relationship Management Office in the UCT Finance Department.
Below is a summary of some of the matters concluded in 2016:
Complaint: A staff member was abusing the UCT Leave provision.
Outcome: Following an investigation it was determined that all leave was approved in line with the UCT Leave Policy.
Complaint: A manager did not follow the UCT procurement policy in the appointment of a service provider.
Outcome: An investigation revealed that the manager in question was not responsible for the appointment of the service provider, and that the appointment was made by his/her line manager and the executive responsible for the portfolio in line with the UCT Procurement Policy.
Complaint: A parent of a student complained that his/her examination mark was incorrect and this was the reason he/she could not graduate.
Outcome: The investigation confirmed that the final mark was correct and all due process was followed in dealing with the student’s complaint.
Complaint: Allegations that a staff member still had access to the Department’s laboratory and was using the laboratory for personal reasons.
Outcome: The investigation showed that the former staff assisted the Department with servicing some of the equipment. However, access was revoked and the retired staff member was requested to hand over any keys that he/she still had after retiring from the university.
Complaint: An employee was contracted without following the university's acceptable HR process.
Outcome: An investigation led to a disciplinary enquiry and the staff member was found not guilty.
Complaint: A contractor was bringing his/her firearm onto UCT property.
Outcome: The contractor undertook not to bring his/her firearm onto UCT property as he/she had not been aware that UCT is a gun free zone.
Complaint: Allegations were made against the hiring practices of a Faculty and the equity profile of the Department.
Outcome: Employment statistics shown by the Department and record of their staff members showed that the allegations could not be substantiated.
We take very seriously every case that is reported via the hotline, and take every precaution to uphold the confidentiality as required by the whistle-blowing policy. It is often the case that feedback is expected by the complainant or whistle-blower within a very short time after having registered the complaint. It must be noted that due process is followed when allegations are being investigated, and that staff members who have been implicated must be informed about their rights.
The veracity of the allegations need to be tested, and depending on the nature and complexity of the allegation, feedback generally takes between three to six weeks for allegations to be investigated and the feedback provided back to the hotline. Only one case in 2016 resulted in an outcome within a week, while others take longer to conclude. I trust that this summary gives some idea of the cases that have come through the hotline and more importantly the outcome once the matter has been investigated.