The KZN office of the auditor-general has stopped auditing the books of the eThekwini Metro and has recalled all its staff from the council after allegedly receiving a series of death threats, the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said on Friday.
The department said it would investigate the circumstances that led to the provincial auditor-general office’s decision.
“The KZN office of the auditor-general is the supreme audit institution in the province and it is mandated to audit all government entities, including municipalities, which are, in turn, obliged to submit themselves to regular audits. We cannot tolerate alleged threats that compromise this process,” said the department’s MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Cogta said it would investigate the alleged threats that, according to the auditor-general’s office, jeopardised the safety of its staff in the eThekwini council.
“The audit process requires full co-operation from municipalities and this is non-negotiable as far as we at Cogta are concerned,” said Dube-Ncube.
Africa Boso, spokesperson for Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), would tell News24, via email on Friday, only that AGSA took any threats against its team members seriously as it was important for their employees to execute their duties independently, honestly and without fear.
“The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) confirms that it has engaged the relevant national, provincial and local government leaders about threats being made to its audit teams – including a recent incident at the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality where we have had to withdraw [the] audit team due to such threats.
“We are encouraged by the commitment shown by the relevant government leaders we have engaged with, that they are seriously looking at this matter with the sense of urgency it deserves.”
Mayor Zandile Gumede and the city’s executive committee members have called an urgent media briefing for Friday afternoon to give further clarity.
This is a developing story.