WHISTLE-BLOWING AND THE INTERNAL AUDIT FUNCTION 

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FORMS OF RETALIATION TOWARDS WHISTLE-BLOWERS

Kaplan and Kleiner (2002:75) identified seven forms of retaliation by an organisation against a whistle-blower. All seven forms are tactics of discrimination:

(1) Spotlight the Whistle-Blower

Employers will try to create smokescreens by attacking the sources, motives, credibility, competence or virtually anything else that will work to cloud the issues raised. This is common retaliatory strategy which seeks to make the whistle-blower, not the issue, but the problem.

(2) Manufacture a poor record

Whistle-Blowers who formerly received good performance evaluations may begin to receive poor ratings from supervisors. To lay the groundwork for termination, employers may begin to compile data about any incident that conveys inadequate or problematic on the job performance. Employers will spend months building a record to brand the whistle-blower as a chronic problem employee, thus reducing credibility.

(3) Threaten the employee into silence

The employer will threaten the employee with termination if the issue is openly discussed or brought to the attention of other managers.

(4) Isolate or humiliate the Whistle-Blower

Another retaliation technique is to make an example of the whistle-blower by separating him or her from co-workers. This may remove the whistle-blower from information necessary to effectively blow the whistle. Often this tactic leads to termination or the reassignment of tasks applicable to the duties of the whistle-blower.

(5) Whistle-Blowers are set up for failure

A whistle-blower may be overloaded with an unmanageable amount of work. The whistle-blower are assigned with responsibilities and then making it impossible to fulfil them. Access to required resources is often denied. This results in termination as a result of poor job performance, if the whistle-blower does not quit first.

(6) The prosecution of the Whistle-Blower

Whistle-blowers may be threatened with prosecution for stealing the information required to prove the wrong doing.

(7) Eliminate jobs or paralyse the Whistle-Blowers career

A common tactic is to lay off whistle-blowers. Employers may recognise whistle-blowers out of jobs by eliminating the position from the organisational chart. Whistle-blowers may also be looked over for promotions.

(8) Case studies related to retaliation on employees blowing the whistle:

Department of Transport and Public Works On M-Net’s Carte Blanche program (Whistle-Blowers – 17 October 2004) Derek Watts interviewed two persons who lost their work after blowing the whistle. According to the program Glen Chase a senior state accountant, was working at the Department of Transport and Public Works in Kimberley, when he exposed Mr John Block the Chairperson of the ANC in the Northern Cape for several financial irregularities with regard to suspicious travelling claims, and some tax payer money Mr Block allegedly spent on feasibility studies for a parliamentary village and toll gates. When Mr Chase informed his supervisor about this, his supervisor wanted to know if Mr Chase wanted to eat porridge. Mr Chase then went to the Scorpions with his evidence, as he knew that he won’t get support from his seniors. Eight days after the disclosure Mr Chase was charged with fraud and threatening a fellow employee – he was also suspended by his Department. Mr Chase life was threatened, and there was allegedly an assassination attempt on the life of Mr Chase by a close relative of Mr Block’s media liaison officer.  The Auditor40 General was called in to do a forensic audit. When the report was published many of Mr Chase’s allegations were backed up.

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The fraud charges was then dismissed, but the Department of Transport and Public works then simply brought in new charges against him. Mr Block resigned when the allegations was published in the media. Mr Block’s company was awarded a contract to manage a state farm after his resignation. The police are still investigating allegations made by Mr Chase for the last year, and to date no one has been charged. According to the PDA, Mr Chase should have been protected under this Act. Mr Chase is going to take the Department of Transport to court.

Margaret Orr (a professor in English at UNISA) brought charges of sexual harassment towards her to the UNISA authorities. The case was widely published in the media. Upon public pressure, UNISA undertook to investigate the matter. In the UNISA context Margaret Orr could not use the whistle-blowers line, as she needed to present evidence in person. When she did come forward she
was victimised instead of being protected by UNISA.

UNISA needs to repair the damage caused by the Orr incident, as the wrong message was sent out with the disclosure made by Prof Orr of sexual harassment in the workplace, which should have been viewed as a protected disclosure under the PDA.

Standard Bank of South Africa

Not all organisations see whistle-blowing negatively. At Standard Bank employees are given monetary rewards to blow the whistle on fraud. Graig Bond, Director: Distribution at Standard Bank, says bank staff are battle-ready to uproot fraud and related problems. According to Bond “Standard Bank has high ethical standards that are reflected in the way we do business. We are committed to the principles of responsible corporate conduct and will not tolerate fraud, corruption, theft, mal-administration, or any other dishonest activity perpetrated against the bank or its clients”. The bank’s anti-fraud campaign is rewarding staff that have gone out of their way to prevent fraud.

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REPONSES TO UNFAIR TREATMENT FROM UNISA INDIVIDUALS

Statements 9 and 10 deal specifically with retaliation perceptions of UNISA permanently employed staff members. The respondents were tested on their perception regarding the treatment they can expect from individuals at UNISA once they have reported irregularities to top management.

REPONSES TO UNFAIR TREATMENT FROM UNISA MANAGEMENT

In the UNISA context the Margaret Orr incident of alleged sexual harassment claims against Adv Motimela the then Chairperson of UNISA’s Council could have an effect on the way staff perceive whistle-blowing in an UNISA context.
Her disclosure should have been protected under the PDA. Professor Orr was not protected by UNISA after her disclosure and a settlement was only reached on 13 May 2004 in the Labour Court after four (4) years of protracted litigation. The following joint press statement was released by UNISA, APSA and Professor Margaret Orr after the settlement (Univeristy of South Africa – Internal Communication dated 13 May 2004);

CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL ORIENTATION 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. REASONS FOR RESEARCH
3. OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH
4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5. PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED
6. ORGANISATION OF DISSERTATION
CHAPTER TWO: WHISTLE-BLOWING: A CORPORATE PERSPECTIVE 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
3. THE RESPONSE OF THE ORGANISATION TO WHISTLE-BLOWING
6. ASSESSING THE CURRENT MANAGEMENT STATUS OF WHISTLE-BLOWING AT UNISA AS ON 01/12/2006
7. WHY DOES A CORPORATE ORGANISATION NEED A WHISTLE-BLOWERS LINE?
8. ADVANTAGES OF A CORPORATE WHISTLE-BLOWERS LINE
9. PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH A WHISTLE-BLOWERS LINE
10. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER THREE: WHISTLE-BLOWING: A LEGISLATIVE PERSPECTIVE 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. WHISTLE-BLOWING LEGAL TERMINOLOGIES
3. OBJECTS OF THE PROTECTED DISCLOSURES ACT (PDA)
4. THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
5. LEGAL PROTECTION
6. PROTECTION AGAINST OCCUPATIONAL DETRIMENT
7. LEGAL REMEDIES
8. MAKING A GENERAL PROTECTED DISCLOSURE
9. PROTECTED DISCLOSURES TO A LEGAL ADVISOR
10. UNFAIR DISMISSALS AS A RESULT OF WHISTLE-BLOWING
11. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER FOUR: WHISTLE-BLOWING ETHICS, POLICY AND PROCEDURE 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. TOLERATING CONFLICTING LOYALTIES AND VALUES
4. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
5. WHISTLE-BLOWING POLICY AND PROCEDURE
6. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER FIVE: WHISTLE-BLOWING AND THE INTERNAL AUDIT FUNCTION 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. THE ROLE OF INTERNAL AUDIT
3. STATUS OF INTERNAL AUDITING AND WHISTLE-BLOWING
4. DETECTING AND REPORTING ILLEGAL ACTS
5. HOW DOES UNISA DEAL WITH INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM A WHISTLEBLOWER?
6. CORPORATE MANDATE TO INVESTIGATE WHISTLE-BLOWER REPORTS
7. UNISA WHISTLE-BLOWING INVESTIGATION FUNCTION
8. DISCIPLINES NEEDED TO INVESTIGATE WHISTLE-BLOWING DISCLOSURES
9. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER SIX: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
1. INTRODUCTION
2. FINDINGS
3. RECOMMENDATIONS
4. CLOSING REMARKS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
ANNEXURES

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THE MANAGEMENT OF WHISTLE-BLOWING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH-AFRICA

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