Johannesburg – To restore accountability and good governance in public finances in the face of a rising tide in cases of wastage, leakages and stealing in both national and provincial governments, public officials need to commit themselves to high standards of ethical conduct, acquit themselves with integrity and put the public interest first. The Auditor General of South Africa, Tsakani Maluleke is set to address this timely subject with accounting and auditing members of the public sector during the upcoming Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA) 2021 annual conference.
The theme for this year’s Conference is titled “Citizens Come First”. The Conference takes place at a critical time in the history of the South African democracy, with Auditor General’s Office having issued numerous reports exposing malfeasance in various government departments and urging senior managers within government to drive accountability for the public purse.
The conferenceboasts several key speakers with the Auditor General confirmed to deliver her keynote address on accounting and auditing matters in the public sector. The conference is a platform for public sector accounting and audit professionals to engage in various topics. Their task will be to contribute to solutions of capacity challenges and efficiencies within the public sector. Also, the conference aims to strengthen capacity building in the public sector.
South Africa is a democratic state subscribing to the concept of a people Government by the people for the people. People as the government ought to take responsibility for how the affairs of their government get run. Local government elections are looming. Many South Africans will make their views heard about their unhappiness where the performance of political parties and ward representatives are concerned.
SAIGA believes that public service delivery that satisfies communities depends on clean governance and strengthening capacity building in the public sector. For this to happen, SAIGA, CEO, Russel Morena says that all spheres of government should be led ethical professionals whose core value is to use public funds responsibly to drive systematic change in people’s lives.
For example, Morena says the local government elections are not just about ticking the ballot box to pick the desired candidate.
“Voting is among several courses of action for citizens in a democratic process. Other steps involve the public embracing the fact that their municipalities need them. The widely desired competent performance of local governments across the country also relies on the continued participation of residents themselves. That is to say, public engagement in a democratic process of selecting councillors is not all that the voter can do. A continuous active role in the running of the local municipalities ought to be played by the residents. An active citizen will respond affirmatively to a fundamental challenge. That would be a test concerning what a citizen can do for their community, their country, for themselves,” says Morena.
Most positive, Morena notes that service delivery outcomes can come to light, from local government level up to national administration.
This he says may come to pass when the public joins hands with the relevant institutions. The noble intention will be to advance the public interest.
Morena adds: “SAIGA encourages public interests in governance issues. More so in the ethical financial management of municipalities. At the heart of the work of SAIGA is ensuring public funds get utilised to serve society through advancing public accountability in auditing. SAIGA has an open-door policy to working with the public in promoting efficacy in municipalities, provincial and national government. Therefore, the public is free to contact SAIGA to raise complaints about public sector auditing or finance professionals acting unethically.”
He says: “The world is changing, and the accountancy and audit profession has evolved to meet the rising new requirements. The role of the professionals in the space is constantly driven by fulfilling the needs of citizens.”
The event will also bring together professionals such as Sizwe Nxasana, former CEO of Telkom Group and FirstRand Group, Chairman of NSFAS and founder of Sifiso Learning Group and many other professionals. Nxasana has also confirmed that he will be speaking at the event on new global realities: The effective role of organisations’ products or services towards value creation and contribution to corporate citizenship.
The conference is a platform for public sector accounting and audit professionals to engage in various topics. Their task will be to contribute to solutions of capacity challenges and efficiencies within the public sector. Also, the conference aims to strengthen capacity building in the public sector. The SAIGA Annual Conference takes place from 15 to 17 November 2021.