Auditor-general a step closer to getting bigger teeth
The National Council of Provinces’ select committee on finance has adopted a proposed law‚ without amendments‚ giving the auditor-general greater powers to act against those found to have wasted public funds.
In a statement confirming this on Wednesday‚ committee chairperson Charel de Beer said the Public Audit Amendment Bill would give the auditor-general the power to take remedial action.
At the end of May‚ the bill was unanimously passed in the National Assembly. It was then referred to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
The bill allows for the office of the auditor-general to refer adverse findings in its reports to investigative bodies‚ such as the Hawks and the South African Police Service.
It also give the auditor-general’s office the ability to order accounting officers to pay back money that has been lost as a result of their mismanagement.
The bill provides for additional reporting requirements; and provides for a maximum amount or percentage of audit fees that can be defrayed from the vote of National Treasury.
In May‚ incumbent Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu disclosed another year of overall deterioration in finances and further plundering by officials‚ with only 13% of SA’s municipalities receiving a clean audit.
Repeated advice and warnings to officials charged with the oversight of municipal spending over the past five years had fallen on deaf ears‚ Makwetu said then.
Also in May, the auditor-general’s office took an unprecedented decision to withdraw its audit team from the eThekwini municipality after its employees received death threats.