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Makwetu: Officials of AG office require independence not to be influenced

Kimi Makwetu briefed the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General on Friday during a workshop on the work of the institution and the Public Audit Act.

FILE: Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu said his office required a high level of independence so officials would not be easily influenced.

Makwetu briefed the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General on Friday during a workshop on the work of the institution and the Public Audit Act.

Makwetu’s briefing followed Parliament's unanimous vote on the Public Audit Act to give his office more teeth. The amended Act extended Makwetu’s powers to go after those who were responsible for irregular, unauthorised and wasteful expenditure.

Makwetu told MPs that in the course of their duties, officials in his office should maintain their independence to avoid being influenced.

“That level of independence is required if you drill down you will find, among other things, the people that you have, you have to pay them reasonably well so that there is no temptation on their part to try and make up for what they consider to be cheap labour and try to make it up elsewhere, which introduces all sorts of unethical behaviour,” he said.

He said his office previously had a small number of qualified staff but now had over 600 chartered accountants and registered auditors.