The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act imposes a duty on employees to report corrupt or suspected activities. Employees are encouraged, through awareness campaigns, to create a workplace atmosphere that discourages fraud to prevent and combat corruption, but what are workforces up to? What are corporates and government doing to curb corrupt activities?
Corruption and fraud have become a reality in the workplace for both private sector companies and the public sector. In recent years, corporations and government have stepped up their anti-corruption awareness activities to combat corruption and fraud.
But this has not strengthened measures from workforces to prevent and combat corrupt activities, and develop and foster a climate where all employees strive for the ultimate eradication of fraud, corruption, theft and maladministration.
Corporates and government need to show more commitment and support the prevention and combating of corruption and fraud in the workplace. Instead of just putting policies and codes of conduct in place, corporates and government must also create a discouraging atmosphere for fraud and corruption, coupled with a conductive atmosphere for whistleblowing.
The use of confidential reporting systems, such as e-report's Web site, should be encouraged in the workplace as corruption and fraud goes unreported because employees fear to report through internal channels. E-report is a Web-based incident reporting system that encourages individuals with information about fraud, corruption, misconduct and criminal activity to securely and anonymously report it on the portal.
Users of this service are not pressured to reveal their identity, but the details of the incident they are reporting are mandatory. Employees must be free to report corruption and use reporting systems available. Workforces must protect and ensure their employees that they are protected and supported.
As can be imagined, whistleblowing can be sensitive as it can cause complications. Some organisations choose not to prosecute in some cases where the incident may draw negative attention and publicity to the organisation, and some employees choose not to report corrupt activities because of the possibility of losing their jobs or being unfairly treated.
But this should not over-ride the greater good that lies in reporting and resolving all acts of fraud, misconduct and theft within organisations. The Protected Disclosures Act in South Africa protects whistleblowers against any form of unfair treatment following a whistleblowing disclosure that is protected in terms of the law.
The Web site has a formal process by which it ensures compliance with the Protected Disclosures Act, thereby protecting the disclosure made by any whistleblower.
Zero tolerance should be at the top of every organisation and employee’s mind, and potential perpetrators will soon think twice about taking a chance to commit fraud, corruption, or any other act of misconduct.