Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: Masi Losi
Cape Town - Parliament is pushing for President Cyril Ramaphosa to quickly sign into law a bill that will give Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, more powers to crack down on corruption in government and state-owned entities.

This is a few months after the national legislature passed the Public Audit Bill.

Parliament pushed through the bill over the last few months in order to ensure that it intensified the fight against corruption in departments, municipalities and SOEs.

In his latest report, the auditor-general revealed that irregular expenditure had increased from R16billion to R28bn in municipalities. This is a 75% increase.

Corruption was also rife in departments and SOEs.

Ramaphosa has not indicated when he will sign the bill into law.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But chairperson of the standing committee on the auditor-general Vincent Smith said they were hoping the president would sign the bill into law soon.

He said they wanted this to be done before the end of the year if possible. However, their intention was that it should be assented to before the end of the current term of Parliament.

“It went to the National Council of Provinces and the NCOP passed it. I wanted it to be passed and signed into law before we leave,” said Smith.

The term of Parliament ends before the elections next year.

He said when Ramaphosa signed the bill into law it would hopefully deal with the audits of the next financial cycle because the audits for this year were being finalised.

He said the bill was not retrospective, and would not deal with the audits of the previous financial year.

The important element about the bill was that it gave the auditor-general more powers and was punitive against officials who were implicated in wrongdoing.

In the past the auditor-general could only make recommendations in Parliament and to the portfolio committees against departments, municipalities and SOEs. But his powers did not allow him to act against people implicated in wrongdoing.

Smith said they wanted the bill to be signed soon to allow him to start acting when the next financial statements were audited against the entities.

“I am assuming it will be for the 2019 (financial audits). Remember, it has punitive actions, but you can’t punish someone for something done in June this year before the president signed it into law,” said Smith.

“The auditors have already done their audits for this year. From 2019 it will fall into that place because it can’t be retrospective,” he said.

Political Bureau