Lifestyle audits for ministers under review
Policies for financial disclosures and lifestyle audits of cabinet ministers and deputy ministers are under review, newly appointed minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said in parliament during a question-and-answer session with MPs on Wednesday.
The results of the review will be submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa who has the prerogative in the matter as he appoints ministers and cabinet ministers.
The review is being undertaken by the National Planning Commission, department of performance, monitoring and evaluation and the department of public service & administration.
Ntshavheni said in reply to a question that there would be an engagement with Ramaphosa on whether he wants to include financial disclosures and lifestyle audits in the performance agreements with ministers and deputy ministers.
All heads of department have to submit financial disclosures by a set date and like all government employees are not allowed to conduct business with the state.
Ntshavheni noted that MPs and cabinet ministers are required to comply with the ethics code for members.
The EFF pointed out that Ramaphosa announced when he took office in 2018 that he would introduce lifestyle audits for ministers and deputy ministers, but nothing was done since then. But Ntshavheni denied the president was delaying, saying that lifestyle audits would have to be extended to MPs as some were appointed ministers and must have gone through the process.
Public service and administration deputy minister Chana Pilane-Majake replied to a question on lifestyle audits which became mandatory for all public servants in national and provincial government departments from April 2021. She said progress had been made provincially in the 2022/2023 financial year with 71 of the 114 provincial departments conducting lifestyle audits compared with only 47 in 2021/2022, marking an increase in compliance from 41% to 62%. In 2022/2023 three less national departments (24) conducted lifestyle audits.
Pilane-Majake said consideration was being given to regulations to extend lifestyle audits to local government as well.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs deputy minister Parks Tau said the department planned to convene a stakeholder engagement, including national, provincial and local government and political parties to discuss how to stabilise coalition governments. A framework and regulations would ensure stable governance in municipalities and avoid destabilisation of services.
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