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Lifestyle audits: Gauteng Premier David Makhura, MECs to undergo polygraph tests next month

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Lifestyle audits: Gauteng Premier David Makhura, MECs to undergo polygraph tests next month

Gauteng Premier David Makhura
Gauteng Premier David Makhura

31st August 2022

By: News24Wire

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his executive are expected to undergo polygraph tests as part of an integrity check that is aimed at ensuring that they are not involved in corrupt activity.

Lifestyle audits that the State Security Agency (SSA) already conducted on Makhura and his MECs centred on the assessment of bank accounts and criminal records.

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But the premier said it was not enough and that his MECs pushed for the polygraph tests to ensure that they are committed and not siphoning public funds. 

No illicit activity was found in the previous assessments, according to Makhura.

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But the premier said he wanted the "gold standard" of lifestyle audits.

"The Gauteng provincial executive has been undergoing lifestyle audits. We are now undergoing a process that I call the gold standard. The State Security Agency has done its work by verifying the assets and confirming people's incomes. But we want them to conclude this with a process that will enable them to get full security clearance. That is very important.

"All the MECs will do a polygraph test. That is the final end of the process. The polygraph test is crucial to us. It is what we call the gold standard. We want the Gauteng executive committee to set a precedent that even before people are appointed to the executive, they must undergo lifestyle audits that do...full assessments of their income and assets. But also, it must [fully] assess their...competence," Makhura said. 

The polygraph tests will be carried out in September. 

Polygraph tests have a mixed track record. Despite this, Makhura believes they will help during the lifestyle audit process.

Reports of corruption involving Covid-19 personal protective equipment were high in Gauteng.

Makhura said the departments that have big budgets and a track record of corruption would be first in line. 

"We have identified departments that are a priority, and health is one of them. The priority is based on their track record. There have been too many incidents of corruption. The provincial big budget departments would be health, education, infrastructure development, transport, and human settlements. Most of the budgets are concentrated around there, and they spend a lot of money on service providers," the premier said.

Makhura also said that in the future, a more stringent method should be used.

"It is not about security-related issues but that the people who occupy these offices have no question about their integrity, and to uphold that high standard of ethics. In dealing with standards of corruption, this has to happen. For the political leadership, just verifying assets is the minimum," he said.

Makhura could also not specify the type of questions that officials would be asked, saying that it was a "science" and that tests could reveal anything.

Lifestyle audits became a Department of Public Service and Administration requirement in 2021.

Several national government departments have reported that assessments were conducted on senior officials. 

Provincial governments have been slow, with the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal concluding audits so far.

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