21 November 2018

South Africa: No Consequences for 98% of Misuse of Public Money in SA

analysis

Who would want to audit South Africa's public finances? Dealing with intransigent state officials, chasing up 'missing' documentation, sometimes being physically threatened - work at the Auditor-General's office hardly sounds like a picnic. But at a panel discussion in Cape Town following the release of the 2018 audit outcomes, a note of optimism was also sounded. It takes the form of new legislation which may finally give the state's auditors the necessary powers to enforce currently lacking consequences for financial mismanagement.

"Joy and adrenaline."

That's how Jan van Schalkwyk, corporate executive in the Auditor-General's office, expressed his response to the news that the long-awaited Public Audit Amendment Act had been signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa three days before the country's audit outcomes were released on Wednesday.

For Van Schalkwyk, this piece of legislation could hold the key to supplying something that South Africa's public entities are sorely lacking: consequences for irregular spending.

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