The eThekwini Municipality’s proposed anti-corruption plan of subjecting employees to lifestyle audits has been dealt a blow after the national Department of Public Service Administration told them the move had no legal standing. According to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit, employees would only participate in such audits on a voluntary basis or when they were a target of an investigation.
A report in The Mercury says the move is a setback for Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who proposed in 2019 that employees should be subjected to lifestyle audits. Kaunda championed lifestyle audits as part of the pledge to clean governance. While delivering his audit committee report for the quarter ending December 2020, the chairperson of the Audit Committee, Nala Mhlongo, said the best option would be for the senior leadership to volunteer for the lifestyle audits, ‘if they do, I see no reason why employees lower down would refuse the audits’. Opposition party councilors said the city officials should take the opportunity, adding this would give the public confidence that employees were running the city honestly.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said she believed there should be a mandatory requirement for lifestyle audits. ‘Even if there is not one, I am happy to subject myself to a lifestyle audit because I know I am not getting money from anywhere other than my legitimate sources of income, and I know I am not doing anything suspicious. I think that all public representatives who feel the same way would have no problems showing the public their sources of income,’ she said.