SA mourns death of Makwetu: 'He served with dedication and distinction'

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Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu (Jan Gerber, News24)
Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu (Jan Gerber, News24)
  • There has been an outpouring of condolences following the death of outgoing Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu.
  • Makwetu died following a battle with cancer.
  • He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in June 2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his condolences to the loved ones of esteemed outgoing Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu who died on Wednesday afternoon.

During his televised addressed to the nation on Wednesday night, Ramaphosa spoke of Makwetu's tenure as AG.

"Mr Makwetu served this country with dedication, with distinction and with great integrity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of great sorrow," he said.

Makwetu died in hospital following a battle with stage four lung cancer, his office said.

He was diagnosed in June 2018.

In a statement, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said Makwetu's death was a huge loss to the auditing profession and the ongoing task of building an accountable administration.

READ | Kimi Makwetu, outgoing Auditor-General of South Africa, dies

Mabe described him as a gallant servant of the nation.

"Makwetu remained true to the constitutional mandate of the Auditor-General of South Africa [AGSA], namely, to strengthen our democracy by enabling oversight, accountability and governance in the public sector through auditing, thereby building public confidence. 

"He has contributed enormously towards building a culture of accountability and transparency in the utilisation of state resources."

He said Makwetu served his profession and he government with distinction and dignity.

"As we mourn Makwetu's passing and ponder the future, let us make a solemn commitment never to abandon his proud legacy of clean and accountable administration.

"We are confident that all public servants, including employees at AGSA, will take forward Makwetu's legacy as well as the solid foundation that he and other previous Auditor-Generals have laid."

Makwetu was appointed on 1 December 2013 as AG for a period of seven years. Prior to that, he served as deputy AG. 

AGSA's work empowers citizens to hold the custodians of public resources accountable.

Born in Cape Town, Makwetu completed his studies at the University of Cape Town.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said Makwetu would be remembered for his courage in shining the spotlight on deep-rooted governance issues plaguing the public sector, especially local government.

Mkhwebane, who also chairs the Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy, said the forum had been planning to send him a token of appreciation for the excellence with which he served as he prepared to leave office.

"Now we have to bid him a different type of farewell," she added.

"He still had a lot to offer. As it is, we had just learned that he was readying himself to offer his expertise at a global level with the recent announcement that he was going to serve in the United Nations' Independent Advisory Audit Committee.

"His passing is a huge loss to the auditing profession, the struggle for good governance in the public sector and to the service of mankind."

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde remembered Makwetu for the robust discussions.

"Over the years, I have worked closely with the AG. We shared a goal which we both took very seriously; to ensure that government delivers on its commitments to the people and does so in a manner which is trustworthy and corruption free.

"It was a role that he filled with professionalism and which he always pursued with the best interests of South Africans at heart.

"I thank him from the bottom of my heart. He will be missed by the entire Western Cape government team," Winde said.

The chairperson of Parliament's Standing Committee on the Auditor-General, Sakhumzi Somyo, also extended his condolences.

"The committee will forever be grateful for the impeccable work ethic, professionalism and integrity that he displayed when he conducted his work. The committee also appreciates the respect he displayed whenever he appeared before the committee."

DA MP Jan de Villiers conveyed condolences on behalf of the party.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his family, loved ones, and colleagues at AGSA during this difficult time. Makwetu has for the past seven years served as AG with dignity and excellence. Under his leadership, Makwetu oversaw and sought to protect the integrity and independence of the Office of the Auditor-General," he said.

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