KwaZulu-Natal will be one of the first provinces to subject officials to lifestyle audits as the government seeks to root out corruption and ensure that corrupt government employees are punished.

This was the commitment by KZN Premier Sihle Ziklala during his State of the Province address on Friday.

State Security responds to lifestyle audit request

He said the province had approached the State Security Agency and SARS for assistance with implementing the lifestyle audits.

“We were advised that the State Security is finalising certain protocols in this regard. As the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, we are committed to leading from the front in undertaking the lifestyle audits.  We are confident that once processes are concluded, we will be among the first provinces to subject ourselves to this process,” he said.

He said the government was “deeply concerned” about the province’s regression regarding the recent audit cycle of municipalities and departments.

“In response to this unpalatable state of affairs, we have institutionalised ‘Operation Clean Audit’.  We have demanded accountability for irregular expenditure in each department and relevant consequence management procedures. Consequence management must be visibly proved,” he said.

He said the province had implemented an Audit Improvement Plan under the supervision of the Provincial Treasury as part of the turn around strategy.  

“We have identified constraints that lead to poor audit performance. The 2020/2021 audit process has shown improvement, but we have not yet reached our target and we will continue to ensure accountability and full implementation of audit outcomes,” he said.

Professional civil service needed

Zikala said it was important for the province to employ a “professional, meritocratic and ethical civil service”  to safeguard citizens’ interests.  

“We have already embarked on a series of initiatives to build state capacity and instil professionalism in the public service,” Zikalala said.

These included:

  • The adoption of a human resources turnaround strategy intended to totally transform the public service and develop “a cadre of civil servants that is capable, diverse and well trained”. 
  • The adoption of an operations management framework to enhance productivity. All departments will be expected to have service standards and service delivery charters so that citizens will know the level of service they should expect to receive and the length of time it will take.                                              
  • Zikalala said his administration had embarked on a skills audit for all 190 000 employees in the employ of the provincial government. The audit aims to analyse available skills to develop a centralised baseline and determine the skills gaps.  
  • “We have already completed the first phase of this project which includes members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) in all provincial departments and are now busy with the rest of our employees,” he said.
  • Zikala said the government had committed to facilitating the process of undertaking lifestyle audits starting with Members of the Executive Council and Supply Chain Management officials in the first phase.   

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Presh JM Reporter

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