Cautious welcome for lifestyle audits of Premier Alan Winde's cabinet
The provincial government advertised three times for the service before they received and accepted a tender by Nexus Forensic Services to complete the lifestyle audits, which Winde said were “part of our clean governance and transparency journey”.
Welcoming the audits, Good Party MPL Brett Herron said: “In response to my questions on the topic last year, the premier indicated the process would be based on self-disclosure, with subsequent verification. Unless that verification is thorough and unhindered, the audit outcome will be meaningless and nothing more than a figment of transparency.”
Heron said: “There are members of his cabinet with dark clouds over their heads. This audit process would be a good opportunity to address those questions and clear up lingering issues.”
ANC leader Cameron Dugmore reiterated that the party would have preferred that the premier got assistance from the Public Service Commission of the public protector instead of opting for a private firm.
Nexus is a 51% black-owned qualifying small enterprise and holds a B-BBEE Level 2 grade with 125% procurement recognition, which allows it to contract with private as well as public institutions.
Winde said: “It’s vitally important to me that the residents of this country feel that they have leaders they can trust, especially in light of evidence of state capture and allegations of corruption in the public service. As the Western Cape, we want to set a new standard for anti-corruption.
“Through these audits we are aiming to build a financial and behavioural profile that we can replicate at the end of the term again to determine whether leaders have unfairly benefited from their position,” said Winde.
The audits will include a study of total income sources; large or significant expenditure or transactions; business interests; personal investments; individual assets such as property, vehicles, collectibles and cash; tax compliance; and financial liability. It will also review foreign travel.
Winde thanked his cabinet for readily consenting to the audits.
“We had some initial delays in appointing a service provider, but I’m satisfied that we can now start setting an example to other government leaders,” said Winde.
He added that he would provide an updated media statement once he had studied the final report in detail. The statement is expected to be released in late March.@MwangiGithahu