Media Release: Speaker Mbete Concerned about Reported Threats on Auditor General Staff

Parliament� National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has condemned the reported threats against officials of the Auditor General, saying they were an attempt to undermine the Chapter 9 institution’s constitutional powers and a threat to accountability.

As stated in section 181 of the Constitution, no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of State Institutions Supporting Democracy. Chapter 9 institutions are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. They must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.

The Speaker expressed her concern about reported threats against officials of the Auditor General’s office during a teleconference with Auditor General of South Africa Mr Kimi Makwetu, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Mr Zweli Mkhize and Chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Auditor General Mr Vincent Smith this afternoon.

Ms Mbete’s teleconference followed receipt of a letter from Mr Smith about the alleged threats. Ms Mbete welcomed the assurance from Minister Mkhize that the matter is receiving urgent attention by his office and that the police are investigating the allegations. Minister Mkhize said the incident was being taken very seriously and Parliament would be kept informed of developments.

The Speaker undertook to keep a close eye on the matter, stressing that Parliament regarded the work of the Auditor General as critical in improving governance. The National Assembly this week passed the Public Audit Amendment Bill, which will now go to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. Once passed into law, the Bill will give the Auditor General of South Africa the powers to recover financial losses incurred through unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, among others. It will grant the Auditor General the powers to take remedial action and to refer certain suspected irregularities for investigation.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa