Our hero this week is former auditor-general Terence Nombembe, who ended his seven-year, non-renewable term on 30 November. Nombembe has led his department with integrity, he's held leaders accountable, and has not minced words on how corruption and wasteful expenditure affects the poor,

At a farewell function held early in November in his honour at Parliament, Nombembe said that he was still optimistic that South Africa’s government can shake off the scourge of corruption.

“Even the dream of clean government will come true in South Africa. I believe that from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

Good governance and accountability were priorities during his tenure. At an event at Wits University in October, he said, “We should not have a situation whereby there is no knowledge of where money was spent by any government entity or departments.”

Distinguished career

Nombembe was born in Qumbu, Transkei and holds a BCom (University of Transkei) and BCompt (Hons) (University of South Africa).

He's a qualified chartered accountant, and began his career in 1983 with KPMG. He worked his way through the ranks, in positions as internal auditor, partner and accountant with Unilever, BP Southern Africa, BP Botswana and auditing firm Gobodo Incorporated, before joining the office of the auditor-general in 2000 as deputy AG.

Nombembe succeeded Shauket Fakie in 2006, and he in turn is succeeded by his deputy Kimi Makwetu. He starts his new job in February 2014, when he takes over as CEO of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Man of integrity

Nombembe is much admired for the way he carried out his responsibilities, and this was lauded by guests and speakers at the farewell event at Parliament. They paid tribute to his quiet dignity, integrity, hard work ethic, support for young up-and-coming chartered accountants, and for the transparency he brought to the office of the auditor-general.

"South Africa is a rich mine of young, bright and talented youths. It is our task to help unearth and polish this latent talent. Through our trainee accountant scheme we have started that search, and we are going to all corners of the country looking for future auditors and auditors-general who will take over from us and continue helping our country manage its public resources effectively."

For serving South Africa with courage and distinction, and for maintaining the credibility of the position of auditor-general, Terence Nombembe is our hero for the week.

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For leading his department with integrity, holding leaders accountable, and not mincing words on how corruption and wasteful expenditure affects the poor, our hero for the week is former auditor-general Terence Nombembe.