Parliament’s unanimous vote to give the office of the auditor-general extended powers has recently assumed centre-stage in our public discourse. This debate reached a crescendo last November when President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law and endorsed changes that will expand our public sector audit mandate. Subsequently, the president proclaimed April 1 2019 as the commencement date of the Public Audit Amendment Act, which affects not only the nature and scope of our audits, but also the internal operations of the office. The revisions to the office’s mandate have been widely welcomed, although some — chiefly public servants and academics — have raised concerns that they may result in the auditor-general “overreaching” its key constitutional mandate, thus infringing on the work of those charged with public sector administration, such as accounting officers and accounting authorities.

While these concerns were thoroughly dealt with during the extensive parliamentary deliberati...

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