The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) has been elected as the external auditor of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
After a rigorous bidding process, Unesco announced South Africa’s supreme audit institution (SAI) as its new auditors for the 2024–29 term.
Welcoming the news, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke said she, and the national office, were delighted at this international endorsement of their capabilities and the quality of their auditing.
“This is good news for our country and demonstrates that we are a global force to be reckoned with. It also recognises the hard work of the more than 3,700 AGSA employees. We dedicate this celebration to all the citizens of our country,” she said.
Unesco is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) that aims to promote world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, science and culture. It has over 190 member states and 12 associate members, as well as partners in the non-governmental, intergovernmental and private sectors.
Maluleke said that over the years, the AGSA has built an international reputation as a supreme audit institution with solid auditing and governance systems. In 2021, the World Bank ranked the audit office as one of two national audit offices in the world (the other being Seychelles) that have complete independence to carry out their audit mandates in their respective countries.
Parliament’s Standing Committee on the Auditor-General commended the AGSA’s latest feat, saying it was proud of the Office of the AG for this prestigious appointment and does not doubt that it would bring the same level of commitment to the role as it has done in the country.
The committee, however, said it was particularly proud of Maluleke for being the first woman appointed to that position.
“Her appointment in this role bears testimony to her professional expertise and her capability as a leader. The committee commends her and the team for elevating South Africa in the international arena on financial integrity and accountability matters,” said committee chairperson Sakhumzo Somyo.
As Unesco’s external auditors, the AGSA’s responsibilities include issuing a report on the financial statements and relevant schedules of the UN agency, its institutes and related functions.
Maluleke said her team was ready to take on this new assignment, “and we will diligently carry our country’s flag in promoting the auditing profession”.
She added that Unesco would receive “maximum benefit” from their integrated approach that combined financial audit with compliance and performance of the institution.
“Team AGSA will provide insights into critical education aspects that contribute to improving the quality of teaching and learning skills development,” she said.
“It will assess how effectively, efficiently and economically Unesco donor funding is used; deliver improved root cause analysis of the detailed findings; and offer better, more impactful recommendation that will lead to more effective corrective actions.”