Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal government will subject its MECs and senior civil servants to a lifestyle audit.
This follows an outcry over alleged Covid-19 related corruption.
The Eastern Cape and Gauteng have also subjected officials to lifestyle audits after allegations of corruption and fraud in Covid-19 procurement.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said civil servants should be people who were not questionable.
“We also want to announce that the PEC, took a decision that in the interest of transparency and accountability to the citizens, it will undergo lifestyle audits.
“This will include the premier, MEC, HODs, senior managers and supply chain officials. The PEC believes that the integrity of those who serve our people should be beyond reproach.
“The PEC has taken this decision to demonstrate that those who serve the public must not only be competent but must exhibit good ethical and moral standing. Details on how this will be done will be announced in due course,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala said the State Security Agency would conduct the lifestyle audits in the other two provinces, was best placed to do the same in KZN.
By July 27 this year, KZN’s provincial government departments and its public entities had spent R2.9bn on Covid-19 procurement and 57% of the money had gone to health (R1.4bn) and education infrastructure (R487.4m).
The largest spending municipality on Covid-19 related procurement was eThekwini metro which had spent R447.4m followed by drought-stricken Mkhanyakude District Municipality at R154.4m.
Among the companies that had benefitted from in the published list, includes, GVK-Siyazama construction (Cape Pty Ltd), RGZ Construction and Bidvest Steiner which provided hand sanitizers and fresh air dispensers, among other products.
On Covid-19 related front at the national level, President Cyril Ramaphosa last week formed a six-member committee led by justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, to collect all information on Covid-19 related procurements.
The president wants to publish it for the public and his ministers would soon undergo lifestyle audits as well.
At the same briefing in Durban, Zikalala was at pains to quell widespread perceptions that most of the tenders went to ANC linked people.
“There are efforts to portray the government as corrupt… As we worked hard to save lives and livelihoods from the health and socio-economic devastation of Covid-19, we had to disburse financial resources.
“Realizing that emergency procurement was always going to present risks, the provincial government took precautionary measures to prevent any abuse of these funds.
“Preventative measures include pre-audits of some of the procurement while municipalities, entities and departments have been asked to report regularly on procurement,” Zikalala said.
He added that in cases where allegations of wrongdoing were reported, his government would be quick to act.
“We have concluded two reports in a short space of time and those have already resulted in the suspension of officials from the Department of Social Development while the matter was also referred for criminal investigations.
“However, despite all these efforts we continue to observe that in the public space there are sustained efforts to portray the government as corrupt and irresponsible,” he said at some point during the briefing.