Auditor General Kimi Makwetu has briefed Parliament on death threats, intimidation and attacks on auditors at various municipalities across the country according to EWN.
Makwetu told Parliament that one of the incidents that shocked him was when one of his employees was shot while in a guesthouse in Emfuleni Local Municipality in Gauteng last month.
According to News24, the assailant fired through the guesthouse’s window, hitting the auditor in her right thigh and knee.
He then broke in and fired off some more shots, but those missed. The shooter had apparently made off with two laptops, and the auditor was admitted to hospital.
While it isn’t clear if the shooting was related to her work, Emfuleni’s municipality isn’t exactly well run.
In June it was placed under administration due to the fact that it was struggling to pay its bills and provide services according to EWN.
According to Business LIVE that same month, the municipality’s sewage treatment works spilled into the Vaal river, threatening the local agricultural and tourist industries.
In August Outa reported that the situation was so dire that all of the municipality’s vehicles had been repossessed by Bidvest, including its fire trucks.
This situation is not however, restricted to Emfuleni. Business LIVE reported after the shooting, that things have gotten so bad with regards to threats and attacks on the auditor general’s staff, that they have to be accompanied by the police when they finalise their asset verifications.
In 2017, only only 33 of the country’s 257 municipalities got clean audits.
In order to solve any problem you need to know what the problem is and what resources you have to solve it.
This is part of why I am in favour of school inspectors – if we are going to solve our issues with education we’ve got to get a fair grasp on what those issues really are.
The same thing goes for our municipalities, if we cannot trust the record being kept – it is much harder to fix the municipality’s problems.
Thus if you happen to be the problem, it isn’t in your interests to have the auditors doing their work.
The VBS scandal – resulted in municipalities going broke and people losing their savings.
VBS was founded in 1982, it survived Apartheid, it survived the transition into democracy, it survived the AIDS crisis under Mbeki, it couldn’t survive the corruption that rose during the Zuma presidency.
It was a bank robbery of note, and we don’t know how many other VBS situations are still out there.
The work of the auditor general has never been more vital, and that the people doing the work are facing these threats should not be tolerated.