President Cyril Ramaphosa says over 11 000 public servants in national government have undergone lifestyle audits, as at March 2023.
The President announced this when he appeared before Members of the National Assembly to reply to questions during a hybrid plenary sitting held this afternoon.
Responding to a question by Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen, who had asked whether the lifestyle audits on Members of the Executive have been concluded yet, President Ramaphosa said lifestyle audits of public servants have been compulsory since 2021.
He said the lifestyle audit process for Members of the Executive is spearheaded by 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.
“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,” President Ramaphosa said.
President Ramaphosa noted the implementation of the lifestyle audits has been delayed by the change of the service provider. He said the implementation of the project is anticipated to be concluded by the end of this financial year.
While welcoming the decision of the lifestyle audit, Member of the National Assembly for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said the issue with the lifestyle audit is with capacity and that it should be run parallel with the 2014 Cabinet decision that all executives in SOEs [State-owned enterprises] and SCM [Supply Chain Management] practitioners must be vetted.
The President acknowledged that the process of vetting is lengthy, with some people leaving the public service without being vetted.
He said different ways of speeding it up are being looked into.
“I am one of those who sees the delays in vetting people being quite detrimental to our public service because we need to know much earlier the standing of those that we employ, whether they are able to execute their task with the integrity that we require of them,” the President said.
The President said that the Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security Agency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, is attending to the matter.
The President dispelled the notion that only public servants are being subjected to lifestyle audits, reiterating that Members of Executive are also being subjected to lifestyle audit.
“When we subject them to lifestyle audits, we have to go through a process and they are quite intrusive and get into private details of the members’ lives… We have to implement proper processes so that we arrive at the type of conclusion that we would like to see.”