Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo says lifestyle audits will be compulsory for all national and provincial departments from 1 April 2022.
Dlodlo said corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law. This, she said, leads to violations of human rights, distorted markets and an erosion of quality of life.
Addressing the Lifestyle Audit Indaba underway at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Dlodlo said the government has put several programmes in place for the purpose of eradicating corruption.
The theme of the indaba is ‘Building an Ethical Public Service through Lifestyle Audit’.
Compulsory lifestyle audits were introduced in April last year. Dlodlo recently confirmed that they were being implemented in the public service space.
The minister said by the end of January 2022, there were national and provincial departments that had reported to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) that they had either completed lifestyle audits or were in the process of the audits.
On Thursday, Dlodlo said the South African government remains steadfast in its commitment to eradicate corruption.
She said lifestyle audits are only one part of the broader drive of government to professionalise, modernise and optimise the public service.
“Lifestyle audits will not only probe unexplained wealth, but they will also detect conflicts of interests that have an impact on the productivity of public service employees and on service delivery.
“Thus, although lifestyle audits are a mechanism or tool to address corruption, in its essence, it is aimed at restoring ethics to be at the centre of the public service.
“It is for this reason that the public service embarked on a process to implement lifestyle audits for national and provincial employees, and to do it within an ethics management framework,” Dlodlo said.
By adopting lifestyle audits, the minister said the public service demands of its employees to reconnect with the values espoused in the Constitution.
“Lifestyle audits are not a punitive measure… But we cannot deny the fact that we do have corrupt public service employees.
“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 Minister said.
Dlodlo warned that the screws are being tightened against public servants who engage in wrong-doing and corruption. She said to get to the stage of implementing lifestyle audits was not easy.
“The Public Service Regulations had to be reviewed to prepare for the effective implementation of lifestyle audits. This included the adoption of the concept of ‘Ethics Officer’ and that of ‘Ethics Committee,” the Minister said.