Whisper truth to power – Thuli Madonsela

2014-08-13 06:00

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says internal auditors should be less like policemen and be the conscience of their organisations.

Madonsela yesterday took part in a panel discussion during the Southern African Internal Auditors Conference, said her spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi.

She asked internal auditors why some organs of state that consistently got clean audits ended up with difficult cases.

Madonsela told the conference that without effective oversight by strong integrity systems, like her office, plans entailed in the national and other government plans were “pipe dreams”.

“The same applied to the corporate sector as great visions and strategic plans in the corporate world were also doomed to fail if there was no effective oversight, particularly ensuring good financial controls, compliance and risk management,” she said.

Madonsela said that as society moved forward with introspection, it should ask itself why more and more African countries were going down on the Transparency International Corruption Index.

She said she was grateful that internal auditors were not failing to provide leadership where necessary regarding issues relating to financial controls, risk management and governance.

Her view was that internal auditors were doing “excellent work” around policing but needed to step up their role with regard to leadership in so far as engaging leaders in organisations about risks and challenges and ensuring action.

Madonsela’s office is also monitored by internal auditors and she said she was grateful that they were the first to warn her if it was heading for a cliff before the Auditor-General came in.

The public protector also said that if internal auditors strengthened their watchful eye and voices to “whisper truth to power”, they would help ensure that companies did not implode or only discover that things had gone bad when external auditors came in.

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