Mr. Terence Nombembe
The Auditor-General of South Africa
BCompt (Hons) CA (SA)
Terence was born on 30 September 1961 in Qumbu, Transkei. He matriculated at Umtata Technical College in 1979. He was awarded a BComm degree by the University of Transkei in 1982 and was awarded BCompt (Hons) by the University of South Africa in 1986. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990.
Terence gained valuable experience during his work in the private sector which developed his technical competencies as an accountant, external auditor and internal auditor. He also developed solid management and leadership competencies upon which he bases his leadership style.
Terence is married to Nokwanda and has three children, Mphiwa, Fezekile and Kamvalethu.
Terence started his career as a trainee accountant with KPMG in Umtata in 1983. He left KPMG in 1987 and joined Unilever in Durban as internal auditor and later as an accountant in the Lipton Tea and Soup factory in Pietermaritzburg. He then joined BP Southern Africa (BPSA) in Cape Town in 1991 as senior internal auditor. While with BP, Terence joined BP Botswana in Gaborone as finance manager in 1994. He returned to BPSA in Cape Town as market research manager in 1996.
In May 1997, Terence helped establish and was a partner-in-charge of the auditing firm Gobodo Incorporated in Cape Town where he initiated the establishment of Gobodo Corporate Governance Services, an internal audit division which operates nationally with regional offices in Cape Town and Pretoria.
Terence joined the Auditor-General on 1 June 2000 in the capacity of Deputy Auditor-General and Chief Executive Officer. He brought to the organisation a firm commitment to supporting mechanisms for proper governance within government.
He is the first African to hold the position of Auditor-General in the history of the organisation’s 95 years.
Terence believes that the vision of the Auditor-General of South Africa – namely that “To be recognised by all our stakeholders as a relevant Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) that enhances public sector accountability" – is his biggest motivator. Terence regards this as a powerful vision that should be carried through.
Says Terence: “I am humbled by the confidence President Mbeki and the national Parliament have shown in me to lead this important institution in our democracy. With the backing of my team, I am up to the challenge. I am equally excited about my new role and the contribution my office will continue to make to strengthen our country’s democracy. We know there will be challenges but we have already set a solid foundation. My predecessor Shauket Fakie was instrumental in helping set up that foundation – credibility, independence and transparency. Our task is to protect these gains and take the organisation to even greater heights.
“We operate in a constantly transforming and developing country. To be relevant in such a changing environment, my office is continuously redefining itself to meet challenges presented by change. For example, to make a meaningful impact we had to first acknowledge that public sector auditing is more challenging and different from private sector auditing. 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. This qualitative approach enables public sector managers better to understand the financial impact of the identified problems and assists in helping them to prioritise the corrective actions. This is how we add value and help improve public sector financial management and our contribution to service delivery.”
Terence says his office will continue to help unearth and groom young chartered accountants and financial managers who will, in turn, use their acquired skills to help boost and continue upgrading the public sector financial management systems.
“South Africa is a rich mine of young, bright and talented youths. It is our task to help unearth and polish this latent talent. Through our trainee accountant scheme we have started that search, and we are going to all corners of the country looking for future auditors and auditors-general who will take over from us and continue helping our country manage its public resources effectively.”