The late auditor-general Kimi Makwetu. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
The late auditor-general Kimi Makwetu. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Outgoing auditor-general Kimi Makwetu has died. His office announced his death on Wednesday afternoon.

“Mr Makwetu passed away in hospital. He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in June 2018,” the office said.

During his address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed sadness at the news. “During his time as auditor-general Mr Makwetu served this country with dedication, distinction and great integrity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of great sorrow,” Ramaphosa said.

Makwetu, who grew up in Cape Town and would have turned 55 in January, has been one of the most respected public servants over the past decade.

He would have finished his term as auditor-general at the end of November.

“We ask the public to keep the family in their thoughts as they come to terms with his passing and to give them the privacy and space to deal with his passing,” the office said.

Earlier in November it was announced that Makwetu was appointed to the UN Independent Audit Advisory Committee.

Over the past 13 years he formed part of the leadership of the Auditor-General of SA, first as deputy auditor-general and then as head of the office that has to audit all spheres of the government and all state departments and entities.

A highlight of Makwetu’s term as auditor-general was the amendment to the Public Audit Act, which gave his office more teeth. Strengthening preventive measures and ensuring accountability had been an important focus of Makwetu.

In an interview with Business Day in October, he said his legacy should be judged by those who his work affected.

Over the past few years audit outcomes across all spheres of government have for the most part regressed, but Makwetu continued to emphasise the important role of leadership and preventive measures to turn around the situation.

The ANC and the DA on Wednesday expressed sadness at the passing of Makwetu.

The ANC said Makwetu’s death was a huge loss to the auditing profession and the ongoing task of building an accountable administration.

“Makwetu served his profession and the people of SA with distinction and dignity,” spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

The DA said Makwetu had served with dignity and excellence. “The DA salutes Makwetu’s service to his country,” MP Jan de Villiers said.

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