Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on the appointment of the Auditor-General (AG) has begun interviewing candidates vying for the position on Thursday.
The shortlisted candidates are Michael Sass, Moses Gasela, Shabeer Khan, Rachel Kalidass, Tankiso Moloi, Tsakani Maluleke, Zakariya Hoosain and Edmond Shoko-Lekhuleni.
All candidates are chartered accountants, except for Moloi.
The term of current AG Kimi Makwetu, ends on 30 November.
So far, three candidates had been interviewed and first up was Hoosain, head of the Western Cape Provincial Treasury.
Hoosain said the AG’s office had a solid reputation, even during difficult times.
“The key issue for the office of the AG is to report to Parliament. Audits are focused on compliance, but what we are not seeing is compliance linked to performance. That is what I will be looking at. Accountability is also another very important aspect,” Hoosain said.
Gasela, chief financial officer in Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul’s office, said during his interview that relations with key stakeholders were imperative.
“Stakeholders like the banking sector, the various boards of standards, are very critical, and I would continue with that. It is necessary to engage stakeholders because some can stifle your agenda if you don’t address their needs,” he said.
Gasela had also previously worked in several government departments.
Sass, the current chief financial officer (CFO) of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS), said stakeholder demands could make auditors’ lives difficult.
“The role of the AG is to express an opinion and not to be influenced. We should report on factual findings and not fear anything. When you deal with such people it is best to be honest and make sure that there are facts to prove what you are saying. State-owned entities are like private entities and they have a motive to achieve different audit outcomes. Morality is no different in the private or government sector,” he said.
The committee received 71 applications for the position. However, most of the applications were from people with no accounting or auditing background.
Interviews are ongoing.