President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: GCIS
Cape Town - The Public Audit Bill is on its way to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s desk after the national legislature gave its final stamp of approval, paving the way for Ramaphosa to sign it into law.

The approval of the bill by the National Council of Provinces has been backed by MPs saying this would give auditor-general Kimi Makwetu powers to crack down on corruption across the state.

This was the final phase of the bill in Parliament after it was passed by the National Assembly a few weeks ago.

Chairperson of the select committee on finance in the NCOP Charel de Beer said the bill would be an effective tool in the fight against corruption in the public sector.

He said it will give the auditor-general “more powers and teeth” to fight corruption.

“Then it will be sent to President Ramaphosa to be signed into law,” said De Beer.

The passing of the bill comes after the auditor-general released more shocking figures on alleged corruption in municipalities. In his audit outcomes report Makwetu found that there has been an increase in irregular expenditure in municipalities.

In the report he tabled in Parliament in May Makwetu found that irregular expenditure in municipalities increased by 75% from R16.2billion to R28.3bn.

This is a recurring problem as fewer municipalities are getting clean audits. Makwetu had noted that most of the problems in irregular expenditure happened in supply chain management.

The bill was passed in the same week that the auditor-general and National Treasury appeared before the ad hoc committee on the intervention in the North West.

In their report the National Treasury found irregular expenditure had increased in the North West from R8.6bn to R15.3bn in three years.

Treasury said irregular expenditure increased at the average of R2.1bn a year.

Health was the significant contributor with R6.4bn in irregular expenditure, followed by Public Works and Roads at R3.4bn and Community Safety and Transport at R3.7bn.

Makwetu said this was a serious issue. The bill will give him powers to refer corruption cases to law enforcement agencies including the Hawks, the public protector and the special investigating unit.

This is an improvement from the previous situation where he only made recommendations to the departments to take action. But in most cases departments never acted against individuals implicated in corruption.

The new powers would also ensure that corruption cases are referred to the Hawks early. There will be a team from the AG’s office that will be working on these matters.

Political Bureau