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We need to be vigilant in protecting the public purse, says Auditor-General Maluleke

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2022

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Cape Town - Auditor-General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke has described the work being done in KwaZulu-Natal, to monitor every transaction processed for flood relief efforts, as extraordinary measures needed to protect the public purse.

Maluleke told the ad hoc committee on KZN floods, comprising members of both the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, on Wednesday, that these extraordinary times needed them to be vigilant.

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This is the second briefing by Maluleke to MPs after last Friday, when she briefed members of the standing committee on the auditor-general on the same work to conduct real-time audits in KZN.

She said she had performed real-time audits during the release of billions of rand for Covid-19, in 2020.

The package was intended to protect South Africans from the virus.

But many officials and companies have been implicated in looting the Covid-19 funds.

Maluleke said her work will not be different to what she is doing now.

She is expected to release her report into KZN floods in August.

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She said she has already started with her work in the province.

The AG said the first line of defence against the looting of the funds lay with officials, who are meant to protect them and ensure there was value for money.

Politicians also have an oversight responsibility, of guarding the public purse.

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The establishment of the ad hoc committee also comes at the right time, to protect funds and ensure accountability.

Maluleke said, after the announcement, that funds would be released for KZN floods but there had to be accountability, as there has been concern about looting.

“In the context of this disaster, there has been a concern by many across society that public funds should be protected and that the response initiatives are not only designed to respond to the needs, but are implemented appropriately. We shared a series of real-time audits that respond to key risks relating to procurement and contract management and, in this regard, we will look at not only compliance with laws and regulations, but we will extend our audit work so that we consider matters related to value for money,” said Maluleke.

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“We will consider whether goods and services have been delivered at the right place, at the right time, and at the right quality. We will also look at whether benefits reached the intended beneficiaries,” she said.

She added that this was the time to ensure there was collaboration among role-players, including those charged with handling funds.

Members of the executive can also use the information they get from her office to determine if there has been implementation of the projects.

Maluleke said she will also report timeously on her work in the province.

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Political Bureau

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