‘Auditor-general not there to attack government’

2011-11-25 08:40

The office of the auditor-general does not exist to attack South Africa’s government, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

“It is of concern that when they do their work diligently as they do, some in society want to give an impression that the [Chapter 9] institutions exist to attack government, which is not the case,” Zuma said.

“The institutions play a very important monitoring role which assists government in its work... They complement the work that government is doing in monitoring itself.”

Zuma was speaking at the centenary celebrations of the office of the auditor-general in Midrand, Gauteng.

Chapter 9 of the Constitution positions the auditor-general alongside institutions like the office of the Public Protector, who are tasked with enhancing democracy in the country.

“It is our firm belief that the Chapter 9 institutions such as the office of the auditor-general exist to encourage excellence, the best possible service, and the best possible use of the fairly limited resources we have to address a complex set of challenges,” Zuma said.

“Their commitment should be supplemented with an underlying sense of positive expectation from the public service instead of fear.

“As government, we would not want public servants to be so over-cautious as to fear taking any action or to work at all as that would affect service delivery. What we need is improved awareness and training on how to handle public finances.”

The auditor-general’s office was established on May 12 1911. Zuma said it was a “ historical coincidence” that centenary of the office was being marked so close to the centenary of the African National Congress.

“The South Africa of 1911 and 1912 is obviously totally different from the inclusive, non-racist, non-sexist, prosperous country that we began building in 1994,” Zuma said.

“The democratic environment has enabled the institution to thrive, given the transparency that has characterised our government and society over the past 17 years.

“It is that culture of openness that has enabled the auditor-general’s office to be able to uncover wastage, fruitless expenditure, underspending, overspending and other serious shortcomings in the handling of public finances,” Zuma said.

He said the office had grown into a respected organisation during the 17 years of democracy.

“Due its outstanding work, the office of the auditor-general is respected by ordinary South Africans, Parliament, government departments, other entities and the international community.

“It is with pride that as a democratic government, we have witnessed the increased effectiveness of this network of oversight established by our model Constitution.”

Zuma said he was happy with the way the office was promoting auditing as a respectable profession among the youth.

“From the basic education to higher education levels, our schools and institutions of higher learning should encourage children to look towards this profession,” he said.

“The fear of mathematics and accounting should gradually become a thing of the past, and the office of the auditor-general can be a good partner in this regard.”

Earlier in the function, auditor-general of Tanzania, Ludovick Utouh, announced that his country would be taking over the role of auditing the United Nations from South Africa in July next year.

He said he was proud to be following the example South Africa set during its tenure.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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.


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.