Government ramps up lifestyle audits on public servants
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) says nearly 400 Ethics Officers and interested parties have been trained to conduct lifestyle reviews in a bid to root out corruption in the public service.
The training took place after the establishment of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEIDTAU) in 2019, after President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a proclamation on the establishment of the unit.
After one year of compulsory lifestyle audits, 24 national departments and 14 provincial departments have finalised lifestyle audits.
The unit is currently addressing non-compliance letters to departments that failed to implement the guide on lifestyle reviews. The names of the departments were also shared with the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.
The unit, however, is also continuing to provide technical support to the department so as to assess what the challenges are.
In 2021, the unit also facilitated the training of around 210 public service employees as chairpersons and initiators for disciplinary cases, and will continue training in this financial year, using the relevant Public Service Sector-Education and Training Authority.
For the current financial year, 98% of all senior management service (SMS) members disclosed their financial interests timeously. The other categories are yet to disclose for this financial year.
For the previous financial year, 54% of the Supply Chain Management, Finance Officials and Middle Management Service employees on levels 11 and 12 (including Occupational Specific Dispensation) disclosed their financial interests.
Acting against corruption
The unit was set up as part of the restructuring of the DPSA, and it contributes to the 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) Priority 1, which is “A Capable, Ethical and Developmental State”. It has two key strategic priorities, namely, to build an ethical public administration and to address corruption in the public administration.
At the launch of Public Service Month earlier this month, Acting Public Service and Administration Minister, Thulas Nxesi, said public servants must walk the talk and defend the country’s freedom against the scourge of corruption.
“To win this war against corruption, we must speak out. We must walk the talk as we fight corruption and build a capable, ethical and developmental State that puts people and their needs at the centre of our work.
“We, therefore, encourage you to speak out and report any wrongdoing that you may be aware of,” Nxesi said.
The PAEIDTAU previously assisted the South African Police Service and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. Currently, it is assisting the Investigating Directorate in the National Prosecuting Authority.
The unit also assists departments experiencing challenges, and is assisting the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to establish its own ethics infrastructure.