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One of the reasons there is so much corruption and looting in this country – in the ranks of politicians and the civil service – is that there have been virtually no consequences for the guilty.
So convinced are the thieves of the invulnerability that many of them flaunt their ill-gotten gains – their mansions, their luxury cars, their designer label clothes, their expensive single-malt whiskies.
We wonder, given the track record on corruption of our political rulers, whether we should get excited by the announcement by the Public Service Commission that lifestyle audits should be mandatory for all government departments.
This has been promised previously… and yet few, if any, of the looting government employees have ended up wearing prison overalls.
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Given that our government loudly proclaims its commitment to the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the march of technology, and regularly utters buzz words like “artificial intelligence”, catching dodgy characters through lifestyle audits should be a piece of digital cake.
We have computerised records of everything to do with lifestyle: bank accounts, tax returns, vehicle registrations, property transfers. With that information checked against what a civil servant earns, the cheaters should stand out like a sore thumb.
Yet those government data bases don’t talk to each other and the mandarins at the SA Revenue Service are still – as the Jacob Zuma case proved – very touchy about releasing any information about taxpayers… even when those taxpayers are crooks.
At the risk of promoting too much intrusion into private affairs – and being accused of promoting a “Big Brother” world – we suggest that marshalling all our human and digital resources is the only way to get to grips with corruption.
There should never be any place to hide for looters