These are our top three for new AG

Parliament shortlisted seven candidates for the new Auditor-General. OUTA went through the list and found the top three.

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14/08/2020 11:38:14

                                                                                                                                                                                                                These are our top three picks for new AG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) embraced the public participation process in Parliament’s selection of the new Auditor-General (AG) to replace Kimi Makwetu as his tenure comes to an end in November. This follows after Corruption Watch opened the doors with Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Appointment of the AG in June to ensure public participation in the selection process.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUTA developed an eligibility matrix to determine the best candidates for the position which indicated the three most eligible candidates. Amongst the criteria was qualifications, auditing experience, leadership, finance and risk management.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                “Being provided with a shortlist is not ideal as this limited participation in the selection from a wider range of candidates, however, we believe that opening up the process for public participation was a breakthrough for our democracy,” says Matt Johnston, OUTA’s Parliamentary Engagement Manager.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUTA said it will not endorse any candidates, but through its research, identified the three most eligible candidates from the shortlist which are Tsakani Maluleke, Michael Sass and Zakariya Hoosain. “Tsakani Maluleke appears to be the best candidate, scoring full marks using the criteria of our matrix. Should she become AG, she will also be the first black woman to fulfil this role,” says Johnston.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maluleke currently serves as the Deputy Auditor-General which creates a perfect scenario for succession. OUTA believes that should she become the next AG, she will be best positioned to build on the momentum AG Makwetu established. “We need to emphasise that whoever fills the position must work even closer with civil society to hold those custodians of hard-earned rates and taxes to account for any mismanagement or abuse,” says Johnston.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                In its submission OUTA asked the Committee to ask the following questions in the final interviews with the shortlisted candidates for answering:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The auditing profession, both in the private and public sector, has been under public scrutiny for the past few years as a result of the various audit failures which resulted in loss of funds to investors, the public and pensioners. What will you do to restore confidence and trust in the auditing profession and specifically the Office of the Auditor General?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The Auditor-General is expected to improve public finance and the performance of public entities which will contribute to a more efficient and accountable public sector. Yet it has to remain independent of the auditees. How will you achieve the right balance?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. s the world and audited entities start to respond to the 4th Industrial Revolution, how will you ensure that the Office and auditors remain competent to audit in this dynamic environment?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. With the new powers of the AG, can you assure civil society that you will hold transgressors to account without fear or favour?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Corruption is now embedded across the majority of government departments and institutions, so how do you prioritise which transgressors to tackle?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Should you fail in your duty as the AG, or to hold transgressors to account, will you resign instead of abusing tax money to protect your position to see through your tenure?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                7. How will you ensure the safety and security of auditors for them to do their work without fear or favour?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Parliament vetted over 70 candidates for the position. The Committee initially shortlisted eight candidates, then on 6 August released a shortlist of seven candidates for the public to share their views on. The shortlisted candidates are:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Michael Sass, CA (SA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dr Moses Gasela, (FCCA, UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Shabeer Khan, CA (SA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ms Rachel Kalidass, CA (SA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ms Tsakani Maluleke, CA (SA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Zakariya Hoosain, CA (SA) 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Edmond Shoko-Lekhuleni, CA (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUTA supports the committee’s pledge to conduct comprehensive background and qualification checks on all the candidates. “We welcome the committee’s involvement of the public and the candidates’ willingness to make their CVs available to the public for better transparency,” Johnston says.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUTA's submission to the Committee is here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The deadline for public comment is 14 August and details for submissions and the candidates CVs are here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Picture: OUTA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.