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AG Tsakani Maluleke to turn economic screws at Unesco with new appointment

Auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke will next year join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as an external auditor.

President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed Maluleke's appointment on Sunday and said she was elected to the role on Thursday by members of various committees and subsidiary organs of the UN agency for a period of six years, from 2024 to 2029.

Maluleke, who was appointed by Ramaphosa on recommendation of the National Assembly on December 1 2020, is the first woman to hold this office.

“On behalf of government and the nation, I congratulate our auditor-general on her election to a global role which is an acknowledgment of her personal capabilities and the leadership capacity and integrity that resides in South Africa’s governance institutions,” said Ramaphosa.

Malukeke has been outspoken on a number of matters affecting the country's financial health, including municipal spending of outsourced accountants.

During a recent address at the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation's annual Inclusive Growth Forum, Maluleke said over the past 10 years the bill for municipalities for consultants who do “basic” accounting work of compiling financial reports during the auditor-general office’s review season shot up from R100m to R1.6bn and continues to take more from the cash-strapped entities yearly.

The material irregularities were related to noncompliance with the law or suspected fraud.

During a briefing of parliament’s standing committee on the auditor-general, Maluleke said her office identified 268 material irregularities, with 194 of them linked to a material financial loss.

Much of the R5.19bn — R1.6bn — loss relates to losses associated with the investments in VBS Mutual Bank by municipalities.

Maluleke also revealed that the implementation of her office's newly acquired powers has saved South Africa more than R500m in local government alone.

Maluleke is a chartered accountant and registered auditor who holds a BCom (Accounting) degree and a postgraduate diploma in accountancy from the University of Cape Town. She also obtained a postgraduate diploma in development and public management from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2016.



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