Lifestyle audits on South Africa’s public servants are progressing slowly, says acting minister of Public Service and Administration, Thulas Nxesi.
In a written parliamentary Q&A this week, the acting minister said that lifestyle audits are conducted in three phases – namely lifestyle review, lifestyle investigation and lifestyle audit.
At the start of 2022, a total number of 21,574 public servants have been subjected to lifestyle review, which is the first phase of a lifestyle audit.
From these reviews, 746 public servants are undergoing investigation for non-disclosure of assets, vehicles and companies as well as conflicts of interest.
The minister noted that 12,557 lifestyle reviews were conducted at the national level, while 9,017 were conducted at the provincial level.
In April 2022, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that the lifestyle audits were taking longer than initially anticipated, but he was happy that they were underway.
“Much work has been done on the approach and methodology to lifestyle audits of members of the executive,” he said.
“However, the finalisation of this work is being held in abeyance pending the submission of the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. This is so that any additional measures required to strengthen executive accountability and conduct can be considered holistically.”
Former Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo previously announced lifestyle audits will be compulsory for all national and provincial departments from 1 April 2022.
She said lifestyle audits are only one part of the broader drive of the government to professionalise, modernise and optimise the public service.
Dlodlo added that lifestyle audits will not only probe unexplained wealth, but they will also detect conflicts of interest that have an impact on the productivity of public service employees and on service delivery.
“If a public service employee is involved in criminal conduct, he or she must know that sooner or later, they will be detected through the lifestyle audit process and steps will be taken against them.
“We cannot professionalise the public service, improve service delivery or have economic growth if we condone unethical conduct and ignore corrupt behaviour,” the former minister said at the time.
Dlodlo has since been appointed as an executive director on the board of the World Bank in Washington.
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