Parliament showers outgoing AG Nombembe with praise

Terence Nombembe. (David Harrison)

Terence Nombembe. (David Harrison)

Outgoing auditor general Terence Nombembe, who was a guest of honour at a farewell function hosted by Parliament, hinted that he would like to play a role in the planned school of governance. It is not clear what role he would play, however, and whether it would be on a full time basis.

Government ministers, MPs from all political parties represented in Parliament, heads of Chapter Nine institutions and the media were among those who attended a luncheon held in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon to bid farewell to Nombembe.

All the speakers praised Nombembe for his diligence as the country's auditor general.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu described Nombembe as a "soft spoken, gentle, a thorough auditor general, committed to his profession and who has set the highest standards for good and accountable governance and professionalism".  

"All of us here will agree that the auditor general, during his tenure, has carried out his constitutional mandate with distinction and without any fear or favour.
Even Parliament has not escaped his reprimand, caution, or attention to detail on occasion," said Sisulu.

Constructive approach
Sisulu said Nombembe had a constructive approach with which he reports on issues of governance and financial management in the public sector.

"This approach is illustrated in your comments Auditor General Nombembe when you assumed the position of auditor general in 2006 and I quote: 'Public sector audits go beyond merely expressing an opinion on the financial statements. When we audit the public sector, we also comment on the effectiveness of key management processes and give feedback on compliance with laws and regulations.

"We have to report in a manner that enables Parliament and the executive to account for how they deal with taxpayers' money and is our contribution to service delivery'," said Sisulu.

Sisulu said Nombembe had used his role to influence and promote a positive tone throughout government.

He said Nombembe had also shown a great capacity to explain and teach. "It seems to me that the ordinary person understands him much better than they do policymakers and politicians."

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan said the government recognised the service that Nombembe had provided to this country's democracy and the manner in which he had advanced good governance and accountability in South Africa.

DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko said under Nombembe's stewardship, the office of the auditor general has consolidated its position as a world class example of an auditor of government business.

Still waters
This was evidenced by Nombembe's appointment as chairperson of the International Association of Auditor Generals and further appointment as chairperson of the United Nations' board of auditors.

"I first had a meeting with the auditor general on my appointment as leader of the official opposition and found him to a quiet, dignified, intelligent and wonderful man," said Mazibuko.

"He warned me that he is soft-spoken … but I have learnt over time that the still waters run very, very deep.

"Mr Nombembe, under your leadership, your office has served the people of South Africa with distinction and integrity," she said.

Nombembe said South Africa had the means to succeed but needed the sincerity to want to get things done.

"The only thing you can bring to this global stage is nothing else but sincerity to want to get things done.

School of governance
"There's no shortage of theory or shortage of business school information, but the only thing you bring to these platforms is the values of truth, honesty and integrity.

"Without truth, honesty and integrity, nothing will ever work when it comes to good governance," said Nombembe.

He said he had not decided what to do next, but he will be one of the active supporters and activist to make the school of governance a success.

He said he is looking for an institution [employer] who would not restrict him, so that he can contribute to the school of governance.

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