Police must urgently probe death threats at KZN office of the AG - Parliamentary committee

2018-05-25 14:48
Vincent Smith addresses the National Assembly during a report on the fitness of SABC board to hold office. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Vincent Smith addresses the National Assembly during a report on the fitness of SABC board to hold office. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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Parliament's Standing Committee on the Auditor General has condemned death threats made against staff working in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) office of the Auditor General (AG).

On Friday, the KZN office stopped auditing the books of the eThekwini Metro and recalled all its staff from the council after they reported receiving a series of death threats.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said the AG's office was the "supreme" audit institution and could not tolerate alleged threats that compromise the process.

READ: Billions in irregular expenditure, fewer clean audits - AG report paints bleak picture of municipalities

A departmental investigation is currently under way.

Standing committee chairperson Vincent Smith said they were "extremely concerned" and labelled the threats a "direct affront to good governance" and a threat to the spirit of the Constitution.

"It is both unfortunate and criminal to seek to intimidate [the] AG's officials and prevent them from doing their work. This matter must be escalated to the relevant law enforcement agencies for proper investigation," Smith said.

Police investigation

As a Chapter 9 institution, the office was empowered to deliver its mandate without fear or favour and was strategically and "critically" positioned to ensure good governance as a precursor to efficient service delivery.

Smith emphasised that the threats were particularly unfortunate considering the Auditor-General's recently released dire audit report on municipalities.

The committee has called on the municipality's political leadership to assist the officials to get the documentation they required for their work.

"Furthermore, the South African Police Service must urgently investigate the threats made against the auditors."

Smith and Auditor General Kimi Makwetu told journalists during the municipal report briefing on Wednesday that the threats were real.

Smith told journalists he hoped to see the same outcry from the media that there was when journalists were threatened.

Makwetu said whistleblowers would obviously be protected but added that they wanted to make the public aware that ongoing intimidation was a genuine threat to officials' work in the current political climate.

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Read more on:    vincent smith  |  kimi makwetu  |  durban  |  corruption  |  parliament 2018

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