Mandate and functions
Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 establishes the Auditor-General of South Africa as one of the state institutions supporting constitutional democracy. The Constitution recognises the importance and guarantees the independence of the Auditor-General, stating that the Auditor-General must be impartial and must exercise powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
The functions of the Auditor-General are described in section 188 of the Constitution and further regulated in the Public Audit Act, 2004 (Act No. 25 of 2004) (PAA), which mandates the Auditor-General to perform constitutional and other functions. Constitutional functions are those which the Auditor-General performs to comply with the broader mandate described in the Constitution. Section 4 of the PAA makes a further distinction between mandatoty and discretionary audits.
Accountability and reporting
The Auditor-General is accountable to the National Assembly in terms of section 181(5) of the Constitution and section 3(d) of the PAA and has to report on its activities and performance of its functions in terms of section 10 of the PAA. The main accountability instruments are the Auditor-General's budget and strategic plan, as well as the Annual report, both of which are tabled annualy in the National Assembly. The Standing Committe on the Auditor-General (SCoAG), established in terms of section 10(3) of the PAA, oversees the performance of the Auditor-General on behalf of the National Assembly.
The Auditor-General annually produces audit reports on all government departments, public entities, municipalities and public institutions. Over and above these entity-specific reports, the audit outcomes are analysed in general reports that cover both the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) cycles. In addition, reports on discretionary audits, performance audits, and other special audits are also produced. The Auditor-General tables reports to the legislature with a direct interest in the audit, namely Parliament, provincial legislatures or municipal councils. These reports are then used in accordance with their own rules and procedures for oversight.