International Anti-Corruption Day: Supporting South Africa’s path towards greater public accountability News

8 December, 2023

On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, Global Affairs Canada, in collaboration with Cowater International, are honoured to celebrate their strong partnership with the Government of South Africa, through the Strengthening Ethics and Integrity Project in South Africa (SEIP).

SEIP aims to increase the accountability, efficiency and transparency of the South African public administration in delivering gender-responsive services to the public. The cornerstone of this cooperation is the provision of technical assistance to support the South African Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in the design and operationalisation of a specialised unit – the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEIDTAU).

PAEIDTAU’s mission is directly aligned with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2020-30 (NACS), which aims to, among others, enhance governance, oversight, and consequence management in the public administration. SEIP provides technical support to PAEIDTAU in relation to the Ethics, Integrity and Discipline Management activities across all three spheres of government.

In 2021, the government implemented new mechanisms, including Lifestyle Audits, in efforts to address corruption through a 3-phased approach that involved: 1) a review from a risk assessment perspective; 2) a lifestyle investigation; and 3) a quantification and evaluation of losses (Lifestyle Audit).  Since the inception of this new mechanism, SEIP has provided technical support to develop an implementation guide for Lifestyle Audits in the Public Service, alongside the development of communication products and basic fraud training programmes. SEIP administered the first questionnaire toward lifestyle investigation across national and provincial departments to continuously adapt assistance based on needs.  In addition, SEIP is currently in the process of developing several procedures and tools to standardize and professionalize Lifestyle Audit investigations.

Moreover, SEIP assisted the PAEIDTAU in the development and implementation of the first guide on the prevention and management of conflicts of interest in the public service and is currently integrating operational examples to support the training. This guide is essential to assist departments in managing the risks of conflict of interest and subsequently reduce corruption. The project also assisted with other activities such as the review of the Directive and monitoring tools for employees performing other remunerative works, and an upcoming Directive to professionalize the Ethics Officers function.

The overall objective of SEIP initiatives is to prevent, manage and monitor corruption and reduce practices that enable corruption in public administration environments. Tackling corruption in all forms is essential to building stronger and more accountable governments and harnessing accountability and transparency to support economic growth and greater prosperity.

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