The Auditor General (SAI South Africa) was established under a constitution. The head of SAI is appointed by the Parliament and by the head of state. SAIs procedure for terminating the appointment of the head is by passing a resolution of Parliament with a two-third majority vote. The qualifications for Head of SAI are that he/she must be a South African citizen with specialised knowledge or experience in auditing, state finance and public administration. SAIs head is appointed for a 7yrs of term.
Various conditions of service of the head of SAI are:
- Special procedure for appointment
- Special procedure for removal
- Fixed Tenure
- Immunity/protection from actions by others in its performance of duties
- Independence to frame workplans
SAI is completely independent, it has financial independence. The office of the Auditor General recovers all its costs through charging for audit services.
SAI has powers of requisitioning all the records of the auditee departments/organisations to discharge its mandate. Auditor General Act No 12 of 1995 Section 5, Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999. SAI has no powers to enforce or initiate enforcement action to secure access to needed records, which are not produced. SAI does not have powers to seal, search and seize documents and other related items where it is considered necessary for its audit and inspection. SAI has powers to seek testimonials of the persons concerned. Allowed with the Auditor-General Act section 3. SAI cannot seek co-operation other than the agencies subject to audit and inspection for presenting materials or provide testimonials necessary for its audit and inspection.
SAI has powers of instructing government investigating agencies to perform activities considered necessary. SAI has no authority of re-examining its own adjudication. SAI has no powers to decide on claims of interested persons in connection with official actions, duties and behaviours of persons subject to audit and inspection. SAI makes recommendations on any issues of this nature.
SAI has no authority to dispense with, in whole or part, the audit of Federal, Provincial and local Governments accounts and other related matters. SAI cannot take punitive action and/or impose surcharges. SAI has powers to access the computer systems of the auditees and the power to download and use electronic data either in site or off site. It has powers to review the development of computer systems by auditees and enforce any controls. SAI has role in the appointment of other external auditors engaged by the auditees for meeting any statutory requirements. If such external auditors are engaged, SAI has powers to supervise and regulate their work.
Audit Procedures And Functions
SAI prescribes Financial, Compliance, Performance and EDP audit as its scope of audit. SAI conducts Concurrent and Special audit.
- Concurrent Audit- Aspect of public interest of institutions funded by government
- Special Audit- On receipt of allegations
- Performance Audit- Follows a systematic audit approach
- Finance Audit- Combination of a risk based and a transaction cycle approach
SAI do not discharge judicial functions. The Findings are included in the risk assignment of the following years audit. SAI also investigate follow up actions taken to the standing committee on Public Accounts recommendations. SAI has to follow specific standards, practices and guidelines in conducting audit and reporting. SAI can consult and/or collaborate with other countries/SAIs and international organisations on matters relating to audit like INTOSAI, ACROSAI & SARCOSAI on various tends and in various capacities. e.g.
- INTOSAI - working group on environmental Auditing,
- SARCOSAI - included in performance reporting & auditing control.
SAI can engage consultants and/or obtain professional services in conducting audit. SAI can report on acts that infringe upon State economic interests like mass embezzlement of state assets, serious losses and wastes. SAI does not require that any fraud or embezzlement be reported mandatorly by auditees. Audit report are given to the standing committee on Public Accounts. SAI has no role on the disposal or the action taken on audit findings. SAI does not present an interim report before rendering an annual report on the examination of the closing of accounts of Federal, Provincial and Local governments. SAI has the power to share its audit with the public and media only after the report is tabled. In case of Financial Statement audits, SAI do not have powers to amend accounts. SAI does not have an advisory role.
SAI is constituted as a collegial multi-member body (Board-Committee-Chamber). It is an Audit Commission. SAI is not responsible for the day to day functions, the Deputy Auditor General is responsible for it. SAI has jurisdiction over both Federal and Provincial governments, it has Organic links between the Central Audit Office and Provincial Audit Office. SAI is empowered to engage external auditors/agencies/consultants as required.
Administrative Functions And Miscellaneous
SAI can expend resources budgeted independently as per section 8 of the Auditor-General act. Auditor-General can recover cost from the Audited book. SAI has full independence in forming its workplan. Auditor General has discretion in the recruitment & conditions of service of its staff. SAI is subjected to an independent audit ie. Audit report upon the Financial Statements. SAI is required to submit a report on its activities to the Parliament.