Cyril Ramaphosa

On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions in the National Assembly, where he updated MPs on the lifestyle audits that were introduced in April 2021. Ramaphosa had little to tell MPs other than saying that the audits would be concluded “soon”. However, he made it clear that lifestyle audits were on his radar.

Presumption of Innocence

Ramaphosa also said that in every lifestyle audit, there was a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. “This is always upheld when we are doing lifestyle audits,” he said.

Process and Confidentiality

According to Ramaphosa, the process should be done “shortly,” and the director-general in the presidency, Phindile Baleni, was expected to report on the lifestyle audits. Ramaphosa said while lifestyle audits were intrusive, the sensitive nature of the information was dealt with a high degree of confidentiality.

Challenges and Progress

However, he said the vetting of senior government officials remained a challenge. The president said every effort was being made to ensure efficiency and he added that the State Security Agency was working on the backlog after several entities submitted applications for vetting. However, there has been seemingly little to no movement on the lifestyle audits of his executive.

As of 31 March 2023, more than two years after the lifestyle audits were introduced, only 36 of 44 national departments and 89 of 103 provincial departments indicated that they had performed lifestyle reviews for the 2022 financial year.

Expansion of BRICS Grouping

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said the expansion of the BRICS grouping would add massive economic activity among the member nations. At the recently held 15th BRICS summit, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were allowed to join the bloc.

In a question to Ramaphosa, DA leader John Steenhuisen said South Africa had aligned itself with countries accused of human rights abuses and atrocities. Ramaphosa said the country’s association with various countries was based on principles and values. He said: “We communicate our policies and positions, we hope and trust and work for a deep understanding of our views.”

Ramaphosa also said South Africa did not have a “holier than thou” attitude when it dealt with other countries. “We are friends with everyone, and we are enemies of none,” Ramaphosa said, adding that even so-called advanced nations like the Europeans and America learned from South Africa.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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