Theft is a crime – don’t do it

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Theft is a crime – don’t do it

Staff Reporter

The Safety and Maintenance Committee of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) is concerned that theft of property on campus is reaching unreasonably high levels.

Recently, three staff members were discovered while allegedly trying to sell University furniture to a scrapyard. The University had been monitoring their movements for a while after it received a tip-off about the regular visits of its vehicles to the site.

The University bakkie, containing an office table, computer stand, an auditorium chair and other valuables was found on site and driven back to campus. The trio will be subjected to an internal disciplinary procedure and a relevant penalty will be meted out against them.

VUT commends security personnel for acting swiftly to stop the perpetrators in the act.

Theft is used widely to refer to crimes involving the taking of a person’s property without their permission. It is legally defined as “the unlawful appropriation of a movable, corporeal property belonging to another with intent to deprive the owner permanently of the property”. This basically means that theft is a criminal offence.

Committing a crime in the workplace has negative implications on an employee’s integrity and future.  It also incurs an expense on the part of the employer who loses money to replace stolen goods. This causes dishonesty and loss of trust between employer and employee in the workplace.  Employees/workers are expected to take care of the property they use to carry out their duties at their workstations.

When an employee is hired they enter into a contract with an employer to comply and obey all the rules in the workplace.  Stealing is a breach and repudiation of such mutual agreement between the two parties and compromises the employment relationship which is founded on trust.  Guidelines for misconduct are outlined to ensure that they know what is expected of them.

When an employee is caught with stolen goods or stealing from his/her employer, internal processes are followed to investigate and to discipline the employee concerned.   If evidence proving that the employee stole from the employer is found, this could result in dismissal of the employee.

It has been noted and recorded with concern that VUT is losing a lot of valuable property which could cost it thousands of rands if this habit is not stopped.   VUT staff are advised to desist and abstain from this illegal practice and misconduct.

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