|The impacts arising from use of cellular technology for communities and millions of individual customers are largely positive and Vodacom will continue to explore how such benefits can be advanced. There are also potential negative impacts, which Vodacom will endeavour to understand and mitigate.|
Ethical business conduct
|The promotion of ethical business conduct is an essential first
step to combating fraud, corruption and the inappropriate use of
cellular technology. Vodacom SA has established the South African
Ethics Committee, which meets on a quarterly basis. An ‘Ethics Along the Way’ programme has been setup, incorporating ethics
risk assessments, ethics training and various other initiatives. To
date 86% of management and 62% of employees have received
training on ethics, with a target of 95% of staff set for completion
during the 2011 financial year.
Vodacom has established the Anti-CMT Compliance Programme as an explicit process to manage risk associated with corruption, money laundering and terrorism (‘CMT’). A code of compliance continues to be implemented in the Group and all operating subsidiaries. The promotion of a whistle-blowing hotline and the implementation of an electronic gifts receiving register are other measures applied to managing fraud and corruption. Risk assessment reports have been produced for each division, and structures established to prevent and mitigate occurrences of corruption.
Fraud and corruption are dealt with by the forensic services team. Vodacom categorises fraud into internal and external cases, with the latter typically relating to subscription fraud and identity theft. The development of cases of fraud is as follows:
|The increase in the number of external cases can be attributed to growth in the customer base.|
Privacy of information
|Privacy is a fundamental human right. By their nature, mobile technologies create challenges in the protection of personal information. The use of location-based services further increases the risk of infringement of customer privacy. As a provider of mobile technologies, Vodacom has an obligation to protect individuals from intentional or unintentional disclosure or misuse of personal information. Vodacom has a dedicated privacy officer and various policies, procedures and processes are in place to ensure that information is not unlawfully disclosed. The control mechanisms utilised include audit trails in all systems that interface with the customer or deal with customer information, an access monitoring policy and disciplinary procedures to deal with incidences of privacy invasion.|
Protection of vulnerable users
|Mobile communications can be used to distribute adult content and other content considered inappropriate for certain users. In addition, certain channels of communication such as SMS, MMS, USSD and the internet can be used to perpetrate fraud against customers. Vodacom SA is a signatory to the Code of Conduct for Cellular Operators, which aims at preventing harmful behaviour by WASPs using the company’s network. The company has teams of testers who review WASP services for quality and compliance. WASPA (the industry regulator) also has its own rigorous adjudication and due diligence processes. During the last financial year, there were 12 proven incidents of misconduct by WASPs, and two service providers were suspended from the network.|
Radio frequency exposure
|Mobile phones and base stations transmit RF – also known as
electromagnetic fields (‘EMF’). Some concern exists about the
potential health effects of radio frequency exposure. There have
been thousands of scientific studies into the effects of RF fields on
health. Authorities, including the World Health Organization, agree
that there is no evidence that convinces experts that the low-level
RF fields from mobile phones and base stations can damage
Vodacom SA engages on an annual basis with the Directorate for Radiation Control to monitor any developments in local regulation. The industry is currently anticipating a draft South African RF standard for best practice. Vodacom also engages with local communities on a case-by-case basis for the commissioning of new base stations, and an extensive corporate communications plan is in place to improve interaction with municipalities.
Contribution to communities
|Vodacom has made a considerable investment in community
development. The Vodacom Foundation has been in operation
since 1999 and since inception has allocated over R500 million to
community development initiatives. During the 2010 financial year,
the Vodacom Foundation in South Africa contributed R69 million, a
2% increase over the prior year. A further R12 million was spent by
other companies within South Africa on CSI activities.
Recognising that mobile communications can be harnessed to deliver social benefit, the community development strategy was recently revised and now places a stronger emphasis on ICT-enabled projects. Over the next year, the projected expenditure aligned to ICT is targeted to exceed 50%. Projects are also chosen to leverage services as SMS and USSB in support of community health, education and security. In addition to the provision of in-kind services, Vodacom SA has actively partnered with staff through the Yebo Heroes initiative, with 1 260 employees contributing to payroll giving and 1 729 volunteering their time for community support.