Winde on why he chose a private company to conduct Cabinet's lifestyle audits
Cape Town - The decision to use a private forensic audit company to carry out lifestyle audits of the provincial Cabinet instead of using a public entity such as the Auditor-General’s Office was Premier Alan Winde’s personal choice.
Winde told a briefing of the standing committee on the premier, whose members had raised concerns about conflicts of interest over contracting a private company to carry out the audit, that the decision was a follow through of a campaign promise in his manifesto at the 2019 election.
“It was not a Cabinet decision to take; it was mine. The Cabinet was told we were doing lifestyle audits and it was my call,” said Winde.
“I thought having a public entity do the lifestyle audits would create a conflict of interest. In my current position as premier, I have got questions from a member of the legislature asking the public protector to investigate me,
"I’ve got a conflict with some of the Public Service Commission and Department of Public Service and Administration positions, and I’m known for a court action against the auditor-general in my previous position as Agriculture MEC.”
Leader of the provincial opposition Cameron Dugmore (ANC) wanted to know why the auditors looked at the period from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2019, when the Winde Cabinet was only appointed on May 23 last year, after the election.
“It appears from the presentation we’ve received that what the Nexus company looked at was, in fact, the previous cabinet. Was this in fact an audit of the previous cabinet?” said Dugmore.
Winde said: “We couldn’t do an audit on the day of the election; we had to give the auditors a period in which to work. So the decision was to look at the two-year period before you get elected, based on the current Cabinet going back two years. This sets the record and the baseline for future lifestyle audits,” said Winde.
Committee chairperson Ricardo Mackenzie said: “I welcome Premier Winde’s commitment to undertake additional investigations within the time frame of the current administration, and support of consequence management for any who fail to declare an interest during this process.”