Newsmaker – Kimi Makwetu: A hard, endless fight

2014-12-01 06:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu today celebrates one year at the helm of one of South Africa’s most respected institutions.

But judging by the poor audit performance recorded by government departments this week, Makwetu will be keeping the bubbly on ice.

Since joining the AG’s office as deputy Auditor-General in 2007, the Cape Town-born father of three has seen the institution through highs and lows – including run-ins with defiant senior bureaucrats and politicians who simply refuse to accept their departments’ poor scores.

The 48-year-old, a former director of Deloitte’s forensic unit, has kept his cool, though it must have been difficult sometimes.

In an interview at his Pretoria office with City Press last week, Makwetu discussed how some civil servants had reacted badly to this week’s audit outcome for 469 provincial and national departments and their entities.

He made the example of senior managers who rebelled against his auditors giving their department a poor score for their spending of taxpayers’ money.

Makwetu didn’t name the department, but said tensions between it and his team were so extreme it took intervention from the Cabinet minister responsible for the department to bring the two parties together.

The AG would not change the department’s audit results, or be told how he should conduct an audit.

The two parties met and resolved the impasse.

Makwetu said his team would not be shaken by any criticism. Their job was to make sure departments tasked with spending public money were kept on their toes and followed the rules.

“By [bowing to pressure], you’re shaking off those that might want to continue doing funny things in the financial books – because they know the audit is just going to select a certain number of transactions at the end of the year and might miss the ones they dealt with.

“So we are putting pressure on them in an indirect way, to say ‘We’re watching you’,” said Makwetu, who lives in Joburg.

He’s not pleased that his team’s work – spending lots of time with both administrators and politicians, showing them what the law allows and how good financial governance is done – has translated into only a handful of good examples.

“We have been throughout the country, in between audits, to sensitise the political heads and accounting officers on some of the basic systems of accounting disciplines and controls,” Makwetu said.

“We’ve done that over the years and still the audit outcomes are not really a reflection of people who have acted on our advice.”

He may not be cracking open the Champagne, but Makwetu is hopeful things can change.

He wants better accountability from political leaders and administrators, and aims to turn around poor performance in the coming years.

“Our aspiration over the next 10 years is to see a public sector characterised by credible and transparent financial reporting.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.