We continued to contribute to trust, efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector by providing assurance on financial management of public organisations and entities and reporting publicly on our findings to promote accountability and transparency.

The execution of our mandate through the lens of our #cultureshift2030 strategy required dedicated preparation. Six specific aspects required leadership attention:

To drive progress, we began identifying key performance indicators, deliverables and desired outputs that would allow us to achieve the required level of readiness. The pursuit and alignment of those priorities took longer than expected, and our internal scorecard, which is in addition to our commitments to Parliament, was only finalised in the second half of the performance year. This shortened the time available for reaching some of the desired outcomes and outputs.

While we were able to achieve most of our commitments outlined in our 2022-25 strategic plan, we were not so successful in achieving a few important internal milestones, mostly in the areas of financial and human capital.

Ensuring our financial independence

Our financial viability is paramount for our independence as a supreme audit institution. We therefore follow an approved funding model that ensures sound financial administration, well managed cash flow, and strong internal controls, systems and processes. We produced a fair set of financial results, especially in the context of the country’s financial constraints.

Our actual audit income for the year was R4 583 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 4%. We contained the increase in audit fees using efficiencies derived from re-allocating staff between national and provincial audit units (resource pooling) and continuous improvement in productivity and recoverability rates (own hours’ revenue). Resource pooling is being institutionalised, realising R221 million (2021-22: R120 million) in audit income.

The introduction of the recoverable Ahluma centre was an interesting initiative, which created opportunities for retained audit seniors or audit clerks to work with multiple business units and gain a diverse skillset. They, in turn, conducted some of our audits, eliminating the need to use private audit firms. In its three months of operation, the Ahluma centre helped us save R20 million on outsourcing.

Cost optimisation

In the face of a challenging economic and fiscal environment, the AGSA continued to demonstrate a steadfast commitment to prudent financial management and resilience. We have achieved a notable increase in our net surplus of R263 million, compared to R40 million in the previous year. However, it is essential to provide context for this increase, as it was primarily achieved by making strategic decisions to weather economic uncertainties.

A key measure of cost optimisation was a challenging but necessary decision to not pay our dedicated staff performance bonuses, allowing us to allocate these resources towards strengthening our capital expenditure programme. The programme will be an investment in digital transformation initiatives to empower us to harness operational efficiencies and enhance the quality of our audit services.

Cost optimisation strategies also resulted in a 3% reduction in operating expenditure. These measures collectively underscore our commitment to prudent financial stewardship.

We remain committed to creating an environment where our employees are rewarded for their hard work and dedication, and are confident that these investments will ultimately benefit both our clients and our team as we continue to evolve and grow. We will apply to retain the net surplus in line with the Public Audit Act (PAA) so that it can be invested as indicated above.

Review of our funding model

The objectives of the #cultureshift2030 strategy, rapid changes in the technological and communications aspects of business, and human capital needs require novel financial decisions. We completed the review of our funding model as prompted by our oversight committee and considered possible improvements. This project will be concluded after due engagement with Scoag.

Our intention is to base our future audit fees on the value delivered per audit, or audit products and services, and not only on hours spent on the audits. In brief, our financial viability and independence have been preserved and we are in a good position to navigate the financial challenges we believe lie ahead for us. Improving business efficiency, prudent financial management and delivering value to our stakeholders remain the ways which will allow us to be financially independent.

Challenges to our financial independence

The collection of audit fees remains a challenge and endangers our financial viability, and in turn our financial independence. We are owed R1 080 million. Although this is a minimal 1,9% year-on-year increase in debtors, it represents 24% of our total revenue. Worse, 34% of this amount is owed for 120 days or more, mainly by auditees in financial distress.

Debt collection receives continuous attention by the leadership at all levels. In this financial year, we formed a credit watchlist committee that focused on managing accounts that are 90 days past their due date and suggesting creative yet effective collection techniques.

Our few successes demonstrated that we still have a way to go to exhaust debt collection options:

  • tighter collection targets and instalment agreements led to stemming the rise in local government debt
  • engagements with the National Treasury in line with the provisions of the PAA resulted in a payment against the audit fees shortfall of 1% debtors
  • engagements with provincial stakeholders allowed us to receive payment from the provincial treasury in lieu of fees owed to us by municipalities.

Collecting through litigation and ringfencing agreements also continued to be effective.

Post-retirement medical aid liability

We concluded our effort to reduce the post-retirement medical aid liability by offering to buy out that liability from 337 members (91%), 258 of whom accepted the offer. This allowed us to reduce the post-retirement medical aid obligation from R49 million to R13 million as of 31 March 2023.

Resourcing for success

The success of our strategy depends on the availability of staff with the required work ethic, knowledge, capabilities, competencies, skills and professionalism and directing them towards activities that not only enhance but directly impact shifting the culture in the public sector.

We continued to implement processes that have proven successful in talent acquisition. We have, however, observed systemic changes in the environment that forced us to review our resourcing strategies. The proliferation of collaborative tools and emergence of new players in the auditing and accounting labour market that offer hybrid or entirely work from home conditions, as well as the shrinking pool of candidates with a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) posed a challenge throughout the financial year. We had to make changes in the selection of institutions offering CTA studies and introduce a mid-year intake to ensure the availability of young professionals on the audits.

To build additional internal capacity that is also financially feasible, we formed the Ahluma centre, which provided the additional resources for our audits. We are proud to reflect on the number of benefits that the centre offered to the participants in addition to helping our financial position, such as access to study support and leave for preparation for professional qualifications, exposure to junior management responsibilities, career progression when internal opportunities become available, continued care through the employee wellness programme, and most of all, secure employment during specific periods.

We will monitor the realisation of this project in the coming years as we see a possibility of investing in capacity through this centre.


In the midst of many challenges, we achieved a number of successes in the continued professionalisation of the office. We were recognised as the employer of choice in the public sector for the third consecutive year in 2022, a recognition that we cherish.

A total of 239 of our candidates successfully passed the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), making us the third largest contributor of successful candidates in the country, i.e. 9% of successful CTA candidates come from our training programme. This proportion has increased steadily over the past four years.

During the 2022-23 financial year we distributed R5,4 million to 36 academically gifted young people and provided opportunities to persons with disabilities, as well as candidates selected from our schools support programme, and AGSA employee family members. We expect them to join our workforce in the next few years.

We contributed R11 497 125 to Thuthuka for the 2023 academic year. In return, 32 Thuthuka candidates began their articles with the AGSA in 2023.

Currently, we employ a sizeable cohort of audit- professionals – 1 350 in total, with more than half of them (776) being chartered accountants.

Employee wellness

Creating an environment that promotes engagement and contentment allows our employees to flourish and achieve their full potential, for their own, and our benefit. We allocated sufficient resources to understand the needs of our staff ranging from physical, to emotional, financial, mental, social, career and community purpose aspects.

We developed holistic interventions for the various levels in the organisation that could provide our staff with the tools to help them thrive, be resilient, safe and productive, and to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

One of the overarching topics that we dealt with was the fear of not delivering, specifically in a rapidly changing world of work paired with an ambitious strategy that requires an internal culture shift and readiness, leading to work-related anxiety, for employees and their leaders.

Our programmes offer personalised support that aids their mental health and holistic wellbeing, aimed at embedding a culture of value and care for our employees.

Contribution to transformation

We have maintained a level 1 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) recognition status for the fifth year. Our success is attributed to ongoing commitment from our staff and leadership on this transformation agenda. We provided financial support to the value of R3 million and business support in various forms to help qualifying enterprises overcome obstacles and increase their market competitiveness, and ultimately to create jobs and become sustainable.

In the past year, 24 small firms joined our programme, while one firm from the previous cohort graduated from the programme and became a supplier of audit skills.

Improving our technological capabilities

In the current swiftly developing technological aspect of our life, we have no choice but to ensure that we have adequate tools and capabilities to execute our mandate and to ensure efficiency of our operations.

The digital transformation strategy approved by the executive committee gives us a full assessment of our needs and charts a careful way to the acquisition of badly needed modern tools and technologies for the auditors as well as for running our business sustainably.

Our audit software, TeamMate, has been upgraded numerous times, and the time has come to replace it with a new agile way to execute audit procedures faster. This will allow us to assess more available data and extract deep, unique, actionable insights that we need to pass on to the relevant roleplayers in the accountability ecosystem for execution.

Our audit software project progressed well, and we are looking forward to deploying this innovative tool. As this will require major financial investment, we will be looking at adequate ways to fund the project.

Overall, we are looking at automating business operations, implementing software robotics that mimic user behaviour and connects multiple fragmented systems and sub-processes through automation, strong business intelligence and analytics, and migrating relevant applications and data to the cloud with minimum disruption to business operations. An example of the way forward in our business environment is our first robot, Imbewu, which allows us to allocate daily deposits within the space of a few minutes.

To achieve our ambitions, we finalised the restructuring of our information technology (IT) space. In line with best practice, we have a digital technology office built on four key pillars of supporting and enabling the business: becoming a data-driven organisation, strengthening our core operations, improving our customer and user experience, and automating our business to bring about efficiencies.

As we invest in and transform our operations, we will be strict in evaluating the realisation of the benefits envisaged at the start of this programme. However, when our programme is implemented, we expect to see immense benefits for our operations and audit processes.

Leadership alignment

We made the achievement and practice of leadership alignment one of the top priorities for our transition into the implementation of the #cultureshift2030 strategy.

Through various dedicated interventions, our leadership team built its skills to conduct healthy debates, actively support one another and take collective ownership of the successful implementation of our strategic change.

This allowed us to make a number of important operational decisions ranging from approval and implementation of audit methodologies, vital functional strategies, such as our digital transformation and financial sustainability strategies, implementation of latest standards.

In February we held our Leadership Summit under the theme #cultureshift2030: Getting hard things done during which we engaged with our cohort of senior managers and grappled with ideas important for the realisation of our strategic aspirations. We took stock of the first year of implementation and lessons learnt to lay the foundation for the next seven years ahead. The novel ideas shared during the event were incorporated into the development of our long-term scorecard.

It takes continuous effort to keep everyone on the same level of understanding and commitment and we are prepared to continue our investment in leadership alignment across the management levels, as we firmly believe that this is the only way to achieve our objectives over the long strategic horizon in front of us.

Engagement with staff and internal culture shift

Equally important for the success of our aspirations is the continuous engagement with staff, thus engendering better commitment and ensuring alignment with our strategy.

The deputy auditor-general’s roadshows provided opportunity to every staff member to have a direct access to the team that worked on the formulation of the #cultureshift2030 strategy and engage on its intention, desired impact and most importantly, on how the organisation would go about the successful implementation of the strategy.

These engagements laid a good foundation for the cascading of the strategic targets and initiatives. In our journey to build trust and demonstrate transparency of the leadership decisions, we also held difficult conversations with staff unpacking ethical breaches or in instances where we have had to make unpopular but vitally important decisions.

While these actions are good practice, they are also a deliberate effort to instil a new organisational culture, one that puts caring for each other, building trust, and doing the right thing among its core values. This demonstrates the importance of our collective commitment towards building an enabling and supportive environment that sets the foundation of the #cultureshift2030 strategy.

A culture that is consistent, practised daily and conducive to the implementation of the strategy, can only be reached through strong leadership and unwavering commitment by staff. We therefore developed a bespoke culture change programme using a trust model that focuses on the individual, team, and the organisation to embed and strengthen the desired internal culture.

Strengthening our ethics posture and risk management

Running an ethical national audit office is the underlying premise to our success, and sustaining an impeccable level of ethical behaviour is a continuous effort. The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and International Standard for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) 130 inform our ethical stance and are the foundation of our ethics management programme.

The current ethics initiatives have allowed the organisation to instil adequate ethics risk management processes and to reach an AA maturity rating as independently assessed through the Ethics Monitor tool. We strongly intend to reach the ultimate maturity rating of AAA.

Having to deal with an ethical breach of a senior executive in the past year, we have executed our commitment to enhance leadership capabilities by strengthening their ethical resolve through providing timeous intelligence on ethical misconduct and breaches, as well as strengthening their capacity to withstand ethical threats and respond appropriately to the complexities of the environment within which the organisation operates.

At an employee level, personal interests are captured and managed through our declarations system. The compliance rate for the 2022-23 financial year is 99,7%, with the outstanding declarations related to employees on maternity, sick and unpaid leave, who are expected to comply upon their return to duty.

It is important to not only build a strong internal ethical environment but to also capitalise on our placement in the industry to influence ethical behaviour in the auditing profession and in the entire environment in which we operate. Hence, our programme also included ethics engagements with the firms contracted to perform audits on behalf of the AGSA and will be continued to ensure adherence to nonnegotiable ethical standards and behaviours.

System of Quality Management (SOQM)

One way to ensure the ethical posture of the organisation and the position of the supreme audit institution in the society is the quality of the audit work. The outcomes of our audits attract significant attention from our auditees, oversight and from the general public. We are mindful of the reality that our products and processes may be subject to increased scrutiny before the courts. We therefore make quality of audits our priority.

A new international standard for audit quality management, the International System of Quality Management (ISQM), came into effect on 15 December 2022. To comply with and adopt the standard by the prescribed timeline, we developed an effective system of quality management and approached the implementation of ISQM on a project management basis. While we did experience challenges, our massive effort allowed us to become ISQM compliant ahead of the deadline.

We are proud to announce that our quality management assessment committee (QMAC) allocated a rating of 84% compliance with engagement quality standards for the 2022-23 performance year based on the assessment of 64 audit files.

Overall, there has been a gradual and sustained improvement in the quality outcomes over the past five years, which can be attributed to our investment in specific initiatives that have been implemented and embedded in the organisation over the years.

We continually look at ways to sustain and improve our audit quality, with the main effort focused on audit quality indicators as an early warning system, proactive quality reviews on audits with elevated risks, and a strong remediation process. This ensures that we have relevant, reliable, and timely information about the design, implementation, and operation of the SOQM. This allows us to take action to prevent weaknesses from reoccurring.

Risk management

The organisation’s risk management processes are an integral and a fundamental tool for enabling organisational objectives and delivering on our strategy.

During 2022-23, and as a consequence of the introduction of the ISQM 1 and 2, we reviewed and enhanced some policies and procedures – including our risk management policy – primarily to ensure that organisational risk management processes remain robust and proactively responsive to emerging environmental factors.

We identified six major risks to the achievement of our mandate and our strategy which form our strategic risk profile. Our audit committee, which has the ultimate responsibility of approving the strategic risks profile, has agreed with our views.

While we run our business according to best practice, we provide a full opportunity to all stakeholders to lodge complaints. The management of all complaints has been elevated and we thus eradicated the backlog from the previous years.

Our whistleblowing platform remains an effective channel to report complaints relating to the conduct of the AGSA employees and the office administration. This is enabled by the whistleblowing platform being completely anonymous.

A discipline that we have developed fully is the management of our legal risks, as our ability to sustainably impact the lives of South Africans relies to a great extent on our independence. Attacks on our independence manifest in various forms. One is to disrupt our work and bring the credibility of our roducts into question. Our legal team is tasked with the responsibility to predict, prevent, identify and mitigate all legal risks that threaten our independence.

We are pleased to note that across the organisation and its various structures, there is an established culture of risk consciousness and intelligence. We believe that our collective attitude to risk management will safeguard the organisation and ensure its sustainability into the future.


Running a supreme audit institution is a complex task and requires the involvement of all executives and staff. It is my conclusion that the AGSA has expended all the effort to implement our strategy and to prove that clean administration is achievable. After the work done during our transitional phase we are in a good position to advance our strategy into the identified sectors and value chains.

We are looking forward to demonstrating the results of our strategy, and ultimately, to see improvement in the public sector that favourably impact the lives of our people.

To my colleagues, I thank you for giving your all towards realising our cause and the execution of our mandate. I could not have wished for a better team.