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AG confirms threats made against audit teams

The office says it’s been forced to withdraw one its teams from the eThekwini Municipality for fear of their safety.

FILE: Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Auditor General’s office has confirmed its audit teams have been receiving threats.

The office says it’s been forced to withdraw one its teams from the eThekwini Municipality for fear of their safety.

In a statement, the Chapter 9 institution says it takes the threats seriously as it’s important for its employees to execute their duties independently and without fear.

It says it has met with the relevant national, provincial and local government leaders about the increasingly hostile environment.

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has reacted to the latest developments, saying it hopes the government will step in urgently.

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said: “We’re extremely concerned that the basic functions of our good governance are now under attack by criminal elements who threaten law auditors, trying to stop them from fulfilling their functions and duties within government structures. But more concerning is the extent of the maladministration and irregular expenditure; it’s increasingly out of control.”

Duvenage added: In eThekwini itself we know that there are a lot of inquiries taking place around growing irregular expenditure.”

‘INSULT TO GOOD GOVERNANCE’

Parliament has reacted to threats made against officials in the Auditor General’s office, saying the actions are a direct insult to good governance and the country’s Constitution.

The Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, says his employees have been working under increasingly hostile environments.

Parliament says the office of the Chapter 9 institution should be protected to ensure good governance and efficient service delivery.

Chairperson of The Standing Committee on Auditor-General Vincent Smith said: “We’d want to urge those that are charged with investigating to do so, and to assist in ensuring that if indeed there is any intimidation of whatever nature that it is nipped in the bud.”

CALLS FOR SOUTH AFRICANS TO DEFEND OFFICE OF AG

There are calls on Friday afternoon for South Africans to defend the office of the Auditor General following the threats.

Earlier this week, Makwetu released the latest audit outcomes, which revealed that the country’s municipalities are in their worst state in five years.

Smith has condemned any attacks on Chapter 9 institutions.

“An attack on the Auditor General is an attack on our democracy.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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