Auditor-General uses new powers to crackdown on corruption

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 11, 2023


Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Cape Town - The Auditor-General, Tsakani Maluleke, is clamping down on corruption by using her new powers after they identified material irregularities with a financial loss of R12 billion.

Maluleke said heads of departments, who are accounting officers, are also implementing the new law by preventing any misuse or loss of public funds.

She said in most instances accounting officers have taken appropriate action.

Maluleke said they were encouraged to see improved responsibility on the part of heads of departments to respond to material irregularities.

She said her new powers, under the Public Audit Act, came into effect in 2019 after amendments were made.

This followed complaints from lawmakers that there were no consequences for officials after the AG had issued reports where money was lost.

“It was clear that those charged with public finances were paying little attention,” Maluleke told the parliamentary committee on the auditor-general.

She said after the law was passed, they started subjecting departments and entities to queries into material irregularities, where they needed to act on any misuse of funds.

The auditor-general said material irregularities were found in vulnerable areas like procurement, payments, resource management, revenue management and misuse of public resources.

She added that procurement remained the biggest part of material irregularity in departments and entities.

“We identified 179 material irregularities for provincial and national government together and 169 of those had an estimated financial loss of R12 billion. We also identified that nine of them related to causing substantial harm to public institutions.

“In the majority of instances, accounting officers have taken appropriate action. Eighty two percent (82%) of instances are where accounting officers are taking the right sort of action. Essentially, the encouragement we want to communicate is that there is improved responsibility in the system. Accounting officers are responding to material irregularities,” said Maluleke.

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