Government is stepping up lifestyle audits on civil servants

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The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) says nearly 400 Ethics Officers and interested parties have been trained to conduct lifestyle assessments in an effort to root out corruption in public service.

The training took place following 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 a year of mandatory lifestyle audits, 24 national departments and 14 provincial departments have completed the lifestyle audits.

The unit is currently addressing letters of non-compliance to departments that have not implemented the lifestyle assessment guide. The names of the departments have also been shared with the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

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However, the unit also continues to provide technical support to the department to assess the challenges.

The unit also facilitated the training of some 210 public service officials as chairmen and initiators of disciplinary cases in 2021, and will continue the training this fiscal year using the relevant government agency Education and Training.

For the current fiscal year, 98% of all members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) disclosed their financial interests in a timely manner. The other categories are not yet known for this financial year.

In the previous fiscal year, 54% of Supply Chain Management, Finance Officials and Middle Management Service employees at levels 11 and 12 (including profession-specific dispensation) disclosed their financial interests.

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Action against corruption

The unit was created as part of the restructuring of the DPSA and contributes to Priority 1 of the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), which is “A capable, ethical and developmental state”. It has two main strategic priorities, namely building an ethical public administration and tackling corruption in public administration.

At the launch of Public Service Month earlier this month, Acting Minister of Public Service and Administration Thulas Nxesi said officials should speak up and defend the country’s freedom from the scourge of corruption.

“To win this war on corruption, we must speak out. We must speak up as we fight corruption and build a capable, ethical and developmental state that puts people and their needs at the center of our work.

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“We therefore encourage you to voice your opinion and report any wrongdoing that you are aware of,” Nxesi said.

The PAEIDTAU previously assisted the South African Police and the Priority Crime Investigation Directorate. It currently assists the Investigative Directorate of the National Public Prosecution Service.

The unit also assists departments facing challenges and assists the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure in setting up its own ethical infrastructure.


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