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Nelson Mandela University joins South Africa in mourning the passing of Kimi Makwetu, the outgoing Auditor General, whose contribution to good governance and passion for mentoring young people will long live on.

Mr Makwetu passed away in hospital on 11 November after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in June 2018. He would have been 55 in January and was due to complete his term as auditor-general this November.

Earlier this month it was announced that Mr Makwetu had been appointed to the United Nations Independent Audit Advisory Committee.

Over the past 13 years he formed part of the leadership of the Auditor-General of SA, first as deputy auditor-general and then as head of the office that audits all spheres of the government and all state departments and entities.

A highlight of his term as Auditor-General was the amendment to the Public Audit Act, which gave his office more powers. Strengthening preventative measures and ensuring accountability had been an important focus of Mr Makwetu.

It was the Auditor-General’s success in ensuring proper use and management of public money at a time of wide-spread corruption that saw the Faculty of Business and Economic Science invite him to speak to students and the wider university community in August last year.

He gave a public lecture, delighting in the engagement with students. He acknowledged the School of Accounting, with its exemplary track record of qualified audits, and encouraged students to join the public sector, like many of Nelson Mandela University’s other graduates. Some, he said, were even working in his office.

Education was important to him and he made it his business to mentor young, up and coming leaders, and grasped every opportunity to address young audiences.

As a leader, Mr Makwetu’s philosophy was to empower the people he worked with and allow them to exercise their agency.

“It is also about permitting them to master significant systems of government, as well as to appreciate the fact that in government, you have a great opportunity to contribute to a greater good. If everyone had the ability to exercise their independent thinking toward achieving that goal, the end result may well be better than the beginning for us.”   

Mr Makwetu felt his biggest accomplishment since joining the AGSA was helping people grow their potential and talent.

“As an individual and what we’ve done collectively as a team, we have played our part in multiplying the ranks of professional accountants in South Africa, and many of them have been absorbed into various levels of responsibility in the AG,” he shared in an interview with the University’s alumni magazine Thetha (For the common good). See the full story in the February issue

Mr Makwetu, a Chartered Accountant, held a Social Sciences degree from the University of Cape Town and a BCompt Honours degree from the University of Natal. After working his way through the ranks at various corporates, he was a Director in Deloitte’s forensic unit before his appointment as Deputy Auditor-General in 2007 and then Auditor-General in 2013.

As a purveyor of honesty, transparency and accountability, the Auditor-General’s position in these ethically challenging times was arduous in the face of a public service administration where lack of accountability is rife.

This, Mr Makwetu said, was because of years of poor political leadership that looked away in the face of the growing rot in state institutions.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057