Members of the Gauteng executive committee could soon face lifestyle audits if Premier David Makhura has his way.
In an effort to clamp down against corruption, Makhura has volunteered himself for a lifestyle audit and challenged all members of the Gauteng legislature to do the same.
“I want to take a lead together with MEC’s to subject ourselves to lifestyle audits this year. And I call on you, all members of this house, let us voluntarily subject ourselves to lifestyle audits,” Makhura said during his State of the Province Address on Monday.
In line with the message of a new dawn advocated by President Cyril Ramaphosa and national government’s plans to tackle corruption, Makhura assured Gauteng residents that he would also be taking a firmer stance in 2018.
While he applauded the province for being the second best performing in terms of clean governance, he expressed concern over the rate of irregular expenditure and the slow pace of action against those found to be corrupt.
To increase the oversight over public officials in the province, Makhura has appointed a civil society led ethics and anti-corruption council to act as a watchdog over government.
He also called for a shift in the attitudes of public officials who refused to be held accountable for shortcomings in their respective departments.
“We can’t have anyone who gets paid so much money passing the buck. Many of the people who do things and later say ‘it wasn’t me, I don’t know, I was told this’ the public pays them a lot of money that they don’t have,” Makhura said.
The most recent incident of blame shifting in the province was seen at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings where former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu refused to take accountability for the deaths of 144 mental health patients following an ill-planned move to under-equipped NGOs.
Makhura said he would work this year on changing the attitudes of public servants as well as finding new ways of enforcing accountability in government.