POLITICS
01/06/2018 07:51 SAST | Updated 01/06/2018 07:54 SAST

Baleka Mbete To Keep A Close Eye On Auditor-General Death Threats

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete added her voice to the condemnation of death threats against the Auditor-General and undertook to keep a close eye on developments around the matter.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete added her voice to the condemnation of death threats against the Auditor-General and undertook to keep a close eye on developments around the matter.

In a statement released on Thursday Mbete described the threats as an attempt to undermine the chapter 9 institution's constitutional powers and a threat to accountability.

She pointed out that section 181 of the Constitution prohibits any person or organ of state from interfering with institutions supporting democracy, such as the office of the Auditor-General.

Mbete expressed concern about the reported threats during a teleconference with Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize and chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General Vincent Smith on Thursday afternoon.

Mbete's teleconference followed receipt of a letter from Smith about the alleged threats.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Last Friday the Auditor-General's office in KwaZulu-Natal stopped auditing the books of the eThekwini metro and recalled all its staff from the council after they reported receiving a series of death threats.

Public Audit Amendment Bill passed by Parliament

Mbete welcomed Mkhize's assurance that the matter was receiving urgent attention from his office and that the police were investigating the allegations.

Mkhize said the incident was being taken very seriously and Parliament would be kept informed of developments.

Mbete 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.

News24