The City of Johannesburg says it will implement lifestyle audits for all councillors and senior executives in the city – starting this month.

This forms part of the city’s efforts to tackle corruption, it said.

“The entire process will start in the second quarter of 2022 (July-September) and aim to conclude this by the end of the financial year. Lifestyle audits are essential for preventing fraud and corruption, like catching out councillors who are implicated in cash-for-votes scandals,” it said.

While the city council committed in principle to conducting lifestyle audits in 2021, this was abandoned by the previous ANC-led government which failed to implement before the end of the previous term, it said.

“It is likely that the PPE tender fraud which we exposed in 2020 and 2021, amongst other things, would have led to damning findings had this process been in place.

The city is currently being run by a multi-party coalition government under the leadership of DA councillor Mpho Phalatse as mayor.

However, the coalition stands on shaky ground, with the multi-party initiative suffering a blow on Thursday (1 September), after the council speaker – DA councillor Vasco da Gama – was ousted in a vote of no confidence earlier in the day.

The city administrators accepted the outcome of the motion of no confidence but characterised it as an attack on clean governance.

A motion for Da Gama’s removal was tabled by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and was backed by the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The DA-led majority coalition has 140 seats in the Johannesburg council, but only 132 councillors voted against the no-confidence vote. 136 votes were in favour, including two councillors from the ACDP, which is part of the multi-party coalition.

It has been alleged that the councillors were bribed, and the ACDP said it would take action against them.

“We note with utter shame that certain members of the coalition elected to vote in favour of the motion, we are also aware that ahead of the motion, there were allegations of bribery, which will be detailed in an affidavit,” the city said.

“As the Multi-Party Government, we will introspect on what needs to be done to regroup, as Joburg cannot afford to be handed back to a cabal who place self-interest ahead of the needs of Joburg’s six million residents. We are nonetheless confident that we will restore order. This is but a speedhump on a long road.

“The repair and rebuild of South Africa’s economic hub has just begun; therefore, our work is far from over. We intend on completing this term of office,” it said.

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