Anti-graft bill awaits Cyril’s stamp

AG will be given stronger hand

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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 R16.2 bil­lion 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 will be an ef­fec­tive tool in the fight against cor­rup­tion in the pub­lic sec­tor

NCOP’s Charel de Beer

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.