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Deputy auditor-general (AG) Tsakani Maluleke is set to take over from her boss Kimi Makwetu, becoming the first woman to hold this vital office. Makwetu was appointed om 1 December 2013, and steps down at the end of November after a distinguished 7-year term.

Also the chairperson of the Auditor-General of South Africa’s (AGSA) executive committee, Maluleke received a unanimous thumbs-up from the Ad Hoc Committee on the Appointment of the Auditor-General, as the most suitable candidate.

Over the past several years Corruption Watch has campaigned for openness, fairness, transparency and public participation in appointments to top positions in Chapter 9 and other bodies – AGSA is a Chapter 9 body. Accordingly in July we sent a submission on the short-listed candidates to the AG committee, with a view to helping to ensure the applicants met the requirements for the position.

Our submission was favourably received, and at the end of July the committee met specifically to discuss our submission. It obtained a legal opinion which concluded that “Corruption Watch’s recommendations are in line with the Constitution and what is legally required of MPs”. The legal opinion advised the committee to accept and implement all of our recommendations – albeit with a few tweaks.

Interviews were conducted, and concluded, on 20 August. The committee expressed its pleasure that all 6 of the candidates were found by the State Security Agency of South Africa (SSA) to be fit and proper to occupy the position. Besides Maluleke, they included former accountant-general Michael Sass; Trade and Industry CFO Shabeer Khan; Moses Gasela, CFO in the Office of the Northern Cape premier; MD at R Kalidass and Associates Rachel Kalidass; Zakariya Hoosain, CEO of the Western Cape Provincial Treasury; and Edmond Shoko-Lekhuleni, an AGSA manager seconded to the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions – English.

In her interview, Maluleka fielded probing questions regarding focus areas for the AG for the next decade in the short, medium and long term; the role the AG would have in restoring the confidence and trust of the public in the auditing profession; how she, a woman, would deal with gender-based discrimination; how she, if appointed, would deal with procurement opportunities, such as Covid-19, that could be a potential avenue for corruption; and potential impediments she anticipates in the implementation of the Public Audit Amendment Act  – among other questions.

The committee commended her for displaying, “through her qualifications, experience and knowledge of key issues that are required for that position, that she is equal to the task”.

Maluleke has worked at AGSA for just over 8 years, and was appointed as CEO and deputy AG in 2014. She holds a B Com (Accounting) and postgraduate diploma in accountancy from the University of Cape Town, as well as a postgraduate diploma in development and public management from Wits University. Maluleke qualified as a chartered accountant in 2001, and has garnered experience in auditing, consulting, corporate advisory, investment management and development finance.

The committee will table its report before the National Assembly on Tuesday, 27 October 2020, for debate and then final approval.