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Netcare and Netcare 911 respond to allegations of a racist post by an employee of Netcare 911

Investigation points to probable hacking of staff member’s Facebook page and creation of fraudulent post to publicly discredit him

Tuesday, May 16 2017

Netcare confirms that both Netcare and Netcare 911 have been made aware that an employee of Netcare 911 is alleged to have posted racist content on his personal Facebook account.

Commenting on the alleged post, Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of the Netcare Group says, “We have a zero tolerance stance towards discrimination of any kind and we will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action when made aware of actions and or behaviour of any staff member who transgresses the company’s values, strict ethics and code of conduct, especially in cases involving racial discrimination.”

“We are indeed proud of our commitment to and the external recognition of our efforts towards transformation in Netcare. In 2016, we formally introduced a specific 7th “Netcare behaviour” which states that ‘We embrace diversity to show that we are not racist’,” he added.

Dr Friedland says the company’s stance is evidenced by the fact that earlier this year, after becoming aware of a racist post placed on Facebook by a staff member she was, after an investigation found her to be guilty, summarily dismissed.

According to Craig Grindell, managing director of Netcare 911, the facts pertaining to the alleged Facebook publication by an employee of Netcare 911, are as follows:
The Facebook post in question was originally brought to Netcare 911 management’s attention on 15 April 2017 by the individual himself, who was made aware thereof by a person outside of Netcare 911 after it was circulated on Facebook platforms.
The Facebook post contains absolutely deplorable and inexcusable racist comments and it does give the impression that it had been posted by the individual on his personal Facebook page.

“We immediately launched an internal investigation at the time of the original incident, and notwithstanding the fact that he had brought the matter to our attention, the individual was placed on special leave whilst the company conducted its investigation,” says Grindell.

“Despite our efforts to communicate directly with Facebook, the Facebook profile that originally posted the racist content could not be validated by Facebook. However this profile was subsequently removed by Facebook.”

“Our investigation, however, indicated that it was likely that the individual’s Facebook account had been hacked into in order to post the absolutely inexcusable comments with the intention of causing him reputational damage,” explains Grindell. 

He added: “Based on the inability to validate the source of the post, a thorough analysis by a third party of the individual’s personal Facebook activity on his electronic equipment over the period concerned, and an affidavit submitted by the individual stating that he had no knowledge of who had potentially posted the post, the case was closed.”

Yesterday, Monday, 15 May, it was brought to Netcare 911 management’s attention that there had been a repeat posting of the original Facebook post on various social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Facebook.

“Based on additional information that has since become available to us, we have reason to believe that the post may have been deliberately and fraudulently created by specific individuals or companies who may have been exposed as having engaged in business practices which may not be viewed as ethical. This exposure relates to actions which occurred during the Netcare 911 employee’s employment with his previous employer and with Netcare 911,” says Grindell.

“We will further our internal investigations in this regard and, given the absolutely offensive nature of the Facebook post, will be engaging the services of external IT investigators in an attempt to identify the source of the posts,” Dr Friedland added.

He reiterated: “As a company we are absolutely committed to dealing with any form of racial discrimination, and trust that the information above clarifies the situation around the Facebook post and our company’s decisive stance and on-going resolute management in instances of discrimination.”

Ends

Issued by:              Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare and Netcare 911
Contact                  :                 Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:          (011) 469 3016
Email:                      martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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