Dr Chana Pilane-Majake, the Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, has lauded the efforts of public service ethics officers, highlighting that over 11,000 lifestyle audits have been conducted among public servants.
In a speech delivered on her behalf by Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, the head of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity, and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEIDTAU) at the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), it was revealed that Ethics Officers had successfully completed cases involving five Senior Management Service (SMS) and two non-SMS public servants from government components and national departments. Lifestyle investigations have also been carried out on 33 SMS and 1240 non-SMS individuals from seven provincial departments.
The investigation under the Lifestyle Audits of Public Servants typically focuses on conflicts of interest, allegations of conducting business with the State, incomplete disclosures, non-disclosure of assets, performing remunerative work without permission, and alleged unexplained wealth.
“I am confident that the investigation part of lifestyle audits (step 2) will further improve, with significant detection of corruption and unethical conduct to follow suit,” said Dr Pilane-Majake.
The hybrid two-day annual National Ethics Officer Forum, attended by Government officials from national and provincial departments and representatives from the nine Offices of the Premier (OTPs), also served as a kick-off event for Ethics Week.
As part of the annual Integrated Public Service Month in September, this year’s Ethics Week began on Monday, 11 September 2023, with the Lifestyle Audit Training session, which drew the participation of more than 230 departmental investigators. A first of its kind, more than 230 departmental investigators participated in the Strengthening Ethics and Integrity Programme, which the Canadian Government supports.
The implementation of Lifestyle Audits in the Public Service began in April 2021. It focused on lifestyle investigations training, with the support of the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. As of September 2023, all but ten national and thirteen provincial departments are now undertaking lifestyle audits.
“I am very proud to announce that the training paid off,” Deputy Minister Pilane-Majake expressed her gratitude for the work of the Ethics Officer.
Over two days, officials from the Public Service Commission and the National Treasury will address the Ethics Officers Forum, leading discussions on Constitutional Values and Principles and how to use the Central Supplier Database (CSD) and procurement data to identify conflicts of interest.