Government going after workers living millionaire lifestyles in South Africa

The government plans to introduce lifestyle audits targeting workers who are clearly living beyond their means.

Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo said the audits will specifically focus on those servants seen to be driving expensive cars and wearing expensive branded clothing.

“An integral part to building an effective, corruption-free public service is the introduction of the lifestyle audits since 01 April 2021 which is being implemented across the public service,” she said in a briefing on Monday (22 February).

“The lifestyle audits in the public service became compulsory with the adoption of a guide to implement lifestyle audits in the public service.”

Dlodlo’s department will be responsible for overseeing the audits through a specialised Technical Assistance Unit (TAU), and will monitor the implementation of the guide.

The minister said government workers will be required to submit a declaration of interest. This is then checked against records from the South African Revenue Services and other departments to ensure that everything ‘tallies’.

“If it does not tally, we then ask those who are responsible for a full-scale investigation to determine whether or not the proceeds of whatever gains this individual have not declared have anything to do with corruption. We want to know what the lifestyle of that individual is sponsored by.

“So you will find a public servant at chief director level wearing Chanel, having beautiful houses here and there, wearing Salvatore Ferragamo (clothing) and flaunting their wealth.”

The minister said that the programme is likely to focus on government workers at senior levels – such as department directors and chief directors – who are living well beyond what they should be able to afford on a public sector salary.

What government workers earnĀ 

Answering in a written parliamentary Q&A in October 2021, Dlodlo explained that there are currently 16 salary bands across the public service, with employees in band 1 earning an average salary of R103,562.

By comparison, public sector workers in band 16 currently earn an average of over R2.1 million.

Dlodlo also provided a breakdown of how many workers are in each salary band, with the largest number of workers falling between salary bands 5 and 9.

Salary band Total number of employees per salary level Current average salary per salary level
1 263 R103 562
2 77 651 R171 278
3 69 003 R206 957
4 38 663 R247 296
5 201 244 R283 227
6 129 361 R332 985
7 306 703 R411 227
8 159 899 R479 868
9 99 927 R567 956
10 54 510 R710 273
11 35 365 R851 022
12 27 399 R1 147 609
13 7 660 R1 222 246
14 2 405 R1 378 620
15 528 R1 661 168
16 712 R2 130 602

Read: People buying Ferraris and Lamborghinis are not benefitting South Africa: deputy finance minister

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Government going after workers living millionaire lifestyles in South Africa