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Dale Horne and Ntokozo Mngadi with the formal accreditation from the Ethics Institute of South Africa.

Don’t cut back on fraud and corruption reporting mechanisms during tough economic times, Dale Horne, head of Whistle Blowers, South Africa’s leading independent whistleblowing service provider, warned this week.

Horne said that companies could expect more theft, fraud and corruption as cash strapped or even heavily indebted employees resorted to dishonesty. An unethical workforce could also undermine productivity and erode competitive advantage, compromising earnings and profitability.

“Right now, businesses have to look after what they have. There is no room for lost income and increased costs. Your team needs to be honest to survive. A few bad apples can cost a company dearly. But you can clean up an organisation through your own good people and let an ethical culture take over”, Horne said.

Horne said it was reassuring to note that most employees within an organisation were hardworking and honest with just a small percentage likely to stray.

“During tough economic times, management should appeal to employees to uphold their ethics and report dishonest practices that could undermine a company’s profitability and hence jeopardise jobs.  However, in order to do this effectively, companies need to implement a structured whistleblowing program,” he noted.

Whistle Blowers provides a 24/7/365 call centre manned by highly trained multi-lingual call centre staff. Their job is to build and maintain trust relationships with whistle blowers.

Employees of subscribing clients can report irregular activities such as theft, fraud and bribery as well as any unethical behaviour in the workplace, secure in the knowledge that they will remain anonymous and that their identities are protected.

Operations Manager, Ntokozo Mngadi, said whistleblowers needed to feel confident in order to fully disclose sensitive information.

Employees don’t only make use of the toll free call facility offered but sometimes feel more comfortable using alternative reporting mechanisms which are offered by Whistle Blowers such as online reporting, fax, email, post and an a SMS “call back” facility.           

She emphasised that Whistle Blowers had two priorities – protecting a whistleblower’s identity and ensuring that a client received accurate information.

Horne said whistleblowing has come of age and was being utilized more and more by employees who did not condone unethical behaviour and corruption in the workplace.

A 2014 global fraud study entitled the ACFE Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, found that employees accounted for nearly 50% of all tips.

It also showed that organisations with hotlines were not only much more likely to detect fraud through a tip off, but experienced frauds that were 41% less costly and detected them 50% more quickly, resulting in significant savings.

In February 2016, Whistle Blowers received formal accreditation from the Ethics Institute of South Africa for the sixth consecutive year.

Over the past three years, Whistle Blowers has grown by 50 % in South Africa and 80 % globally. It has extended its services to 25 countries.