It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) to perform its work in some municipalities.
Staff members have had to face a hostage situation‚ threats from municipal officials and have even been shot at.
These are some of the instances of intimidation that auditor-general Kimi Makwetu has raised in a letter to parliament’s standing committee on the auditor-general.
In the letter‚ dated October 15‚ Makwetu specifically details instances of intimidation at the municipalities of Emfuleni‚ Tshwane‚ Madibeng and Moretele.
Makwetu said in the letter that he believes the instances of intimidation deserve national attention‚ even though the office of the auditor-general will still work with the local and provincial governments in question.
“These instances not only pose a threat to the life and limb of innocent professionals employed by the AGSA‚ but also put the broader public interest at risk‚” he said.
The finances of municipalities‚ which are tasked with basic service delivery such as water‚ sewerage and electricity provisioning‚ have been deteriorating‚ with only 33 out of 257 municipalities obtaining clean audits in the 2016/2017 financial year‚ according to Makwetu.
The report for the 2017/2018 financial year to June will be released in 2019.
In the letter‚ Makwetu details some of the “serious and unacceptable intimidation threats” levelled against officials over the past few weeks. These include a member of the auditor-general’s auditing team being shot at while staying at a guesthouse in Emfuleni in the Vaal Triangle on October 12. Two laptops‚ one belonging to the auditor-general‚ and a cellphone were stolen.