Before becoming Western Cape premier in May, Alan Winde committed to conducting lifestyle audits on his cabinet if he was in charge.
Five months after his election, this is yet to happen.
The reason, Winde explained on Thursday, was that private companies are apparently deeply concerned about doing business with the government.
“Several of South Africa’s big name audit firms have become embroiled in national controversies as a result of their working relationships with the national government over the past few years,” he said.
A tender was advertised shortly after he was sworn in but no bids were received.
After re-advertising, only one bid was received but the company did not meet the minimum requirements and it was re-advertised unsuccessfully for a third time.
The fourth advert went out on Friday and applications close on November 8.
One local company had sent his government a letter indicating they would not be bidding as they identified circumstances which could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
“While we understand that there are risks involved for firms in the current political climate, the Western Cape government would like to place on record that by conducting lifestyle audits of our most senior politicians, we are seeking to bust any opportunity for corruption, and create a sense of good governance and transparency that has been sorely lacking in South Africa amidst a growing body of evidence of state capture.”
Winde said they were committed to following due tendering processes, which would ensure that the companies’ reputations were not exposed to risk.
When Winde went to cast his vote for the general elections in Cape Town in May, he said he had zero tolerance for corruption.
“We need to put mechanisms and tools in place that keep people honest because obviously, corruption in South Africa, it’s becoming our brand.”
Winde said on Thursday that everyone in his cabinet had consented to the lifestyle audits.
He encouraged companies which have the requisite skills and experience to submit bids.
“I feel very strongly about these audits. If we cannot get it right this time, we may need to consider service providers from the rest of Africa, or from international anti-corruption and transparency organisations to assist us in this regard, while still playing within the rules and laws governing supply chain management and public finances.”
He hoped, however, that a local company would provide their services.
His staff had also submitted applications to be vetted by the State Security Agency and were now undergoing interviews to screen their integrity.
“The staff in my office acknowledge that while this process delves deeply into their own independent affairs, it signals our commitment to living out the values of integrity and responsibility required of public servants.”