The government intends to begin implementing lifestyle audits.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has announced that the government would begin conducting lifestyle audits for its employees in February, and has urged ministers, premiers, MECs, and department heads to set an example.
The introduction of lifestyle audits is part of the measures to maintain integrity in public administration, according to the PSC’s quarterly bulletin, The Pulse of the Public Service, which was released on Tuesday.
According to the bulletin, lifestyle audits in the public service will begin in February 2022, and the public administration ethics, integrity, and disciplinary technical assistance unit will provide technical assistance to national and provincial departments to help them implement the guidelines for conducting lifestyle audits in the public sector.
The unit, which is part of the Department of Public Service and Administration, has already educated 42 ethics officers on how to verify financial reports using a risk-based approach (lifestyle reviews).
”The concept of lifestyle audits should be understood as reassuring that the living standards of public servants are congruent with their declared financial incomes,” the Commission said.
It explained that part of ensuring that South Africa does not become a failed state the government has the responsibility to ensure that public servants live according to their reported incomes.
”Lifestyle Audits will also help strengthen the already existing financial disclosure framework that helps us in determining conflict of interests. In order to inculcate a sense of commitment to integrity and accountability in public administration, the executive authorities (ministers, premiers and MECs) and heads of departments should lead by example and subject themselves to the lifestyle audit process,” the PSC said.
The PSC has undertaken to be the first to undertake lifestyle audits of all its Commissioners and employees to lead by example.
The commission said lifestyle audits did not question people’s right to wealth and noted that the majority of public servants are honest and people of integrity as some could have acquired their riches through honest means such as inheritance, a wealthy partner and as a successful business person.