Making an impact
Impact of our visibility programmes
Our customised messages and interactions help to deepen our stakeholders’ understanding of audit outcomes, MIs, the PAA, the status of records review (SoRR) and preventative controls, and to clarify the corrective actions needed to further their specific mandates. This is critical to helping our constitutional stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities, and entrench them as part of the public sector accountability ecosystem.
To strengthen our impact and influence change, we targeted 501 interactions with 270 prioritised constitutional stakeholders. Our 618 interactions exceeded this target and strengthened our relationships with our stakeholders.
We used the following criteria to customise our messages to these stakeholders:
In our interactions we focused on the key root causes of poor performance, highlighted good practices and encouraged corrective measures. The interactions reinforced the significance of the stakeholder’s role in the accountability ecosystem.
Influenced by our insight, some stakeholders instituted disciplinary measures to strengthen consequence management. Auditors reviewed investigation reports and gave feedback on areas of concern. These engagements provided a clear presentation of risks, root causes and recommendations to accounting officers, executive authorities and oversight mechanisms.
Collaboration with law-enforcement and other agencies
Collaboration with the Fusion Centre on the real-time audits special reports 1 to 3 continued. The centre provided us with reports on the South African Social Security Agency and the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and a list of data to assist us when performing our functions. In turn, we provided the Fusion Centre with data to assist its investigations.
A further advantage of our involvement in the Fusion Centre is our ability to leverage these relationships to help us assess requests for investigation and refer matters to other agencies that are better placed to investigate.
Task team on the professionalisation of the public sector
We received great recognition for our experience in professionalising our workforce when one of our executives (Jan van Schalkwyk) was appointed to serve on the High-Level Task on the Professionalisation Framework advising the minister of public service and administration on creating a capable, ethical and developmental public service. Once the framework is finalised and put in action, we believe that it will assist to strengthen state capacity and public service reforms, aspects that in turn will contribute to a desired public sector culture of performance, accountability and integrity.
We continue to make progress in educating citizens about our role and mandate to empower them to hold elected representatives accountable. We leveraged our reputation and credibility to interact with stakeholders that have a voice to augment our messages and influence auditees to achieve better outcomes. However, while appreciating our role in strengthening the accountability ecosystem, non-constitutional stakeholders are increasingly looking for stronger action from the AGSA. This would include a demonstration of our ability to enforce the changes required to improve audit outcomes and the governance mechanisms in public institutions, with an emphasis on using public funds responsibly and efficiently.
Enhancing community reach
As part of our community engagement programme, we developed citizen reports for all three special reports and the 2019-20 national and provincial, and local government general reports. We also displayed our messages on various platforms to reach citizens. Platforms include:
- a standalone reporting website
- the media
- social media
- the AGSA website
- GCIS platforms
- community platforms
- public lectures.
Our social media platforms allowed us to share our reports and audit outcomes, and encouraged discussions on a multitude of other topics. These discussions helped us educate the public, which grew our following as citizens responded to our messaging. We are encouraged that our reports and messages were quoted by members of the public in their arguments and deliberations in social media conversations. The lessons we learnt will be carried forward to improve our social media offering and presence.
Our engagements with the media helped them to understand our work and how we implement our expanded mandate. We held various workshops with regional and community media, the South African National Editors Forum and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism. Information-sharing sessions included journalists from mainstream, regional and community media to help our messages reach all the citizens of South Africa. We also published opinion pieces in various media to share our vision of the public sector and insight from audit outcomes, and to influence accountability.
Engagement with professional associations and industry organisations
We engaged a number of professional associations, industry organisations, business associations, CSOs and institutions of higher learning using various platforms such as public lectures, personal discussions and networking sessions.
These interactions helped us reinforce our messages and create greater awareness of the mechanisms available to the AGSA to strengthen the accountability ecosystem. The stakeholders continued their advocacy work by holding auditees accountable and monitoring implementation through public statements and reports.
Our executives drove these engagements both nationally and abroad. We shared insight on the 2019-20 local government and 2019-20 national and provincial audits, discussed preventative controls, and explained the enhanced role and mandate of the AGSA. These engagements aimed to co-create solutions for improvements in the public sector and create ambassadors for our messages.
The main points of discussion included:
- national, provincial and local government audit outcomes, and issues of non-compliance from supply chain management
- progress of MI implementation
- special report insight
- ethical leadership
- strengthening accountability
- preventative controls.
In our daily work we face the continuous misuse of state resources. The constitutional right to freedom of speech has allowed the media to highlight numerous cases of fraud and corruption. Several CSOs have also taken up the fight against the spillage of public resources. Engagements with CSOs provide a fresh perspective on focus areas and risk assessments from the ordinary person’s view. To nurture and clarify these engagements, we launched the position paper outlining the relationship between the AGSA and CSOs in July 2021. We mapped CSOs in detail to identify those for priority engagement. Dedicated process flows provided structure to CSO engagements. The auditor-general met with various CSOs to share audit outcomes, a special report (SR3), and progress on MIs. The auditor-general stated our intention to collaborate with CSOs in line with global best practices (Intosai-P 12), expand the accountability ecosystem, and enhance the accountability value chain. Long term relationships with CSOs will create ambassadors for our messages and mandate. Our goal is to improve the audit product and message to ensure that AGSA reports reflect and touch citizens’ lived experiences.
- As part of their annual women’s conference and recognition awards in August 2021, Awca honoured head of national audit, Bongi Ngoma, as the winner of the 2021 public sector CFO of the year award. This provided an opportunity for profiling and showcasing the depth of leadership in the AGSA. These awards are recognition of the calibre of women leaders in the AGSA who continuously demonstrate the tenacity to succeed in their careers, and who continue to raise the bar of excellence within the chartered accountancy profession.
- Bongi Ngoma won three awards from CFO South Africa: CFO of the year, the public sector CFO of the year, the transformation & empowerment award.
- Mabatho Sedikela was recognised and awarded as public sector woman executive of the year by Abasa
- Sisonke Mvumbu, audit manager at the Eastern Cape business unit, won the under 35 women leader of the year award by Abasa
- The auditor-general was honoured with the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke institutes 4th annual bring her up: Women of firsts award
- AGSA was named the 2021 Corporate sector company of the year by the ACFE South Africa