Custodians of public finances should be quaking in their boots at suggestions the auditor-general go after them for losses incurred by the state on their watch. MPs are engaged in the process of giving the office of the auditor-general more teeth, and in coming weeks parliamentarians on the standing committee on the auditor-general anticipate that the Public Audit Act Amendment Draft Bill will be ready for tabling in the National Assembly. Before that can happen, the MPs have to fine-tune the wording of the bill, as well as address concerns raised about it during public hearings. Year in, year out, the office of the auditor-general releases damning findings about the dire state of the government’s books — from local to provincial level and the national sphere. The release of the consolidated audit outcomes of the state has become something of an annual ritual that takes place in October. The outcomes have shown a consistent decline in financial controls, illustrated in the rise in f...

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