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Activating the accountability ecosystem

The AGSA's #cultureshift2030 strategy

Our aspirations and how we intend to achieve them are framed in our call to action:

  • We are practitioners in public sector accountability, transparency and integrity.
  • Audit is not all we are; audit is what we do to collect, analyse and translate data into information, and information into meaningful insight.
  • Our influence translates insight into action.
  • Action stimulates and shifts our clients towards a culture of accountability.
  • A culture of accountability enables sustained, consistent and meaningful improvements in audit outcomes.
  • Sustained, consistent and meaningful improvements in audit outcomes translate into sustained, consistent and meaningful improvements in the lived reality of ordinary South Africans.
  • In that manner our constitutional democracy is strengthened.
  • We are not just auditors – we are independent, relevant, exemplary culture-improvers.
  • Every single one of us.

Strategic context in which we operate

Over the past few years our operating environment has undergone significant shifts, not only because of the covid-19 pandemic, but also because of simultaneous developments in many areas of life and business, locally and globally. These recent developments, together with certain long-term trends and considerations, form our strategic context: 

  • The regressive and non-responsive trend in audit outcomes is of significant concern to South Africans.
  • The headlines on outcomes tend to overshadow the more important story of the impact on the lived reality of ordinary South Africans that is represented by the numbers, findings and outcomes.
  • Regressing outcomes, and the lived reality of ordinary South Africans that they represent, have damaging implications for the strength of our constitutional democracy.
  • Persistent patterns of regressing audit outcomes also impact public confidence in the AGSA and our perceived relevance.
  • We have a constitutional and professional mandate as South Africa’s supreme audit institution to make a difference in the lives of citizens.

Our strategic aspiration

Our strategic aspiration is to have a more direct, stronger and consistent impact on improving the lives of ordinary South Africans by improving the public sector culture through insight, influence and enforcement.

The nature of the public sector that we aspire to see is one where public administration is governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:

  1. A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
  2. Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted.
  3. Public administration must be development-oriented.
  4. Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
  5. People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in
  6. Public administration must be accountable.
  7. Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.
  8. Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated.

We envisage that by 2030, the AGSA will be associated with a meaningful and sustainable impact on the public sector in a manner and on a scale that engenders a culture of performance, accountability, transparency and integrity. 

Theory of change and strategic priorities

A theory of change comprises an envisaged end state and a set of assumptions of why a particular way of working will be effective, showing how change happens over time to achieve an intended result.

Culture refers to the shared values and way of life of a given set of people – it reveals the fundamental values of a society or a sub-set of society. An engendered culture goes beyond simple, occasional compliance with rules; it relates to an appreciation for – and habitualised advancement of – the outcomes for which the rules exist. From culture flows behaviour.

To fundamentally influence behaviour, therefore, it is important to fundamentally change the underlying culture. It is the solidity of such a culture within the public sector that we believe will ultimately drive a sustained, consistent and meaningful improvement in the lived reality of South Africans. We therefore intend to sustainably and efficiently shift public sector culture through insight, influence and enforcement.

Ultimately, success is a shift of critical mass to cultures characterised by performance, accountability, transparency and integrity, driven through partnerships in an accountability ecosystem of stakeholders willing to use their advocacy and influence to create meaningful improvements in the lived reality of ordinary South Africans.