In a recent session with the National Assembly, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that more than 11,000 public servants in the national government have been subjected to lifestyle audits as of March 2023.
Audits Become Compulsory
The topic came to the fore when Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen, inquired about the conclusion of lifestyle audits on Members of the Executive. Ramaphosa clarified that these audits became mandatory for public servants in 2021. The responsibility for conducting these audits lies with the Office of the Director-General in the Presidency and the Secretary of Cabinet.
“The process was institutionally initiated towards the end of 2022. Earlier this year, I sent letters to the Deputy President, Ministers, and Deputy Ministers requesting their written consent to the process to ensure that the information is obtained in a legitimate and legal manner,” Ramaphosa shared.
He further added,
“I received the same letter signed by the Director-General and Secretary of Cabinet. The Members of the Executive, including myself, have submitted consent forms for the nationally-driven process of lifestyle audits.”
Challenges and Delays
While the initiative is well underway, Ramaphosa acknowledged some hiccups in the process. A notable shift in service providers has caused a delay in executing the lifestyle audits. However, he remains optimistic, expressing hopes that the project will reach its conclusion by the end of the current fiscal year.
Calls for Extended Vetting
The session also saw members of the Assembly highlighting the significance of parallel vetting processes. They emphasized the need for such processes, especially for executives in state-owned enterprises and those involved in supply chain management.
Recognizing the importance of this, Ramaphosa stated that he acknowledges the value of vetting and is actively seeking ways to hasten the process. This is all in a bid to ensure the integrity of those serving in public roles.
Scope of the Audits
In his address, Ramaphosa also took the opportunity to clarify the scope of the lifestyle audits. He emphasized that these audits are not exclusively for public servants. Members of the Executive are also included, with a keen emphasis on maintaining proper processes and ensuring privacy during the audit procedures.