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Dear reader,

Without a doubt, 2020 was not the year we expected it to be. It has been a testament, especially in the first year of our new five-year Strategic Plan, that adaptability and resilience are essential components to achieve success. As we approach the end of this transformative year, we are heartened by the commitment and dedication demonstrated by our member-SAIs to continue executing their mandates despite great hardships. We are also greatly appreciative of the continued and steadfast support from our partners and donors as we worked to adapt our plans and approaches throughout the year.

To all our readers, we wish you peaceful festive season and a prosperous new year.

Kindly note that our Secretariat offices will close on 15 December 2020 and reopen on 11 January 2021.
SAI South Africa appoints new Auditor-General, Ms Tsakani Maluleke
 
Ms Tsakani Maluleke has been appointed the new Auditor General of South Africa. This is the first time in the SAIs’ 109-year history that this position is held by a woman. Ms Maluleke’s fixed seven-year term started on 1 December 2020.

Following a rigorous selection process by a multi-party ad hoc committee and on recommendation of the National Assembly, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment in late November. Ms Maluleke, who was also the first female Deputy Auditor General in South Africa, has for the past eight years, been running the operations of the SAI. Her priorities, first as National Leader and then as Deputy Auditor General, has been to develop people and investing in technical expertise across diverse areas. Read more

On behalf of the entire AFROSAI-E region, we warmly welcome Ms Maluleke to the community.

In November this year, Ms Maluleke presented on the AGSA’s professionalisation journey at our 15th Technical Update Conference. Access the presentation and recording at www.afrosaie-tu.co.za
 
The ICBF Self-Assessments training in January 2021
 
The Institutional Capacity Building Framework (ICBF) continues to be a vital regional tool, to measure member-SAI progress and close maturity gaps as they implement the learnings acquired from various interventions. For the ICBF self-assessment results and the subsequent country reports to add value to member SAIs, it is of crucial importance that the self-assessment questionnaire be completed with credible information, which requires a thorough understanding of the measurement criteria. For this reason, we have been holding annual ICBF training workshops since 2017.  To date, 19 SAIs have gone through the training.

In January 2021, we are planning to hold a series of ICBF training workshops for member-SAIs, to aid in the completion of the 2020 self-assessment questionnaire, which is due on 31 January 2021. To provide opportunity for maximum engagement with a smaller number of participants, we will be holding three four-hour sessions from 19 to 21 January, targeting a different group of SAIs each day. Invitations have been issued to member-SAIs with the relevant workshop registration links. For more information, please contact Gorden Kandoro at gorden@afrosai-e.org.za  
Research Paper on the Integration of Big Data in the Public Sector
 
With continuous technological advancements, the data created by people, applications and smart machines are exponentially increasing beyond the capabilities of traditional data-processing applications. SAIs are called upon to have a strategic response to data generated and stored by governments and how to use it in analysis. Therefore, SAIs, like most organisations, are facing a big data challenge. 
We undertook a research project this year to develop a technical paper on the theme “Integrating Big Data in Public Sector Audit” for the AFROSAI General Assembly. In our research, we considered the fundamentals needed for SAIs to integrate big data in public sector auditing. The research brought out key findings on the need for SAIs to put data on their agenda and have a strategic response. Further, SAIs need to work smarter and understand how to get value from the data analysis. Additionally, governments in the AFROSAI English- and French-speaking sub regions seem to be lagging when it comes to digitalisation and data governance. Click here to learn more and read the full Paper on Integrating Big Data in the Public Sector.
Supporting SAIs with guidance on disaster preparedness
 
Pocket Guide for SAIs on Considerations for Responses to Disasters
 
In cooperation with the GIZ Good Financial Governance Programme, we issued a Pocket Guide for SAIs on Considerations for Responses to Disasters in November. In her foreword, the Auditor General of Sierra Leone, Ms Lara Taylor Pearce, dedicates this Pocket Guide to the late Mr Kimi Makwetu, for his notable efforts in leading his SAI to perform COVID-19 related audits.
 
The Pocket Guide gives strategic level guidance to SAIs on considerations to be taken, when preparing and responding to disasters throughout the three phases of a disaster cycle. It also conveys some fundamental audit practices such as remote auditing and real-time audits. Through this Pocket Guide, our aim is to empower SAIs in the INTOSAI community with yet another tool and opportunity to remain relevant and be of value and benefit to their citizens during disasters situations.

Paper on Crisis, Emergency & Risk Communication
 
A key aspect that was highlighted during research we conducted on the resilience of SAIs during disaster periods, is the challenge to meet stakeholder expectations. In response, we developed a Paper on Crisis, Emergency and Risk Communication. This paper includes key considerations for SAI’s to improve their preparedness to communicate effectively with stakeholders during disaster, crises and emergency situations. It will specifically benefit leadership and management teams as well as the dedicated communication department or resources to develop, or address gaps in their crisis communication response plans.
 
Disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic are difficult, if not impossible to predict in terms of their severity and impact on society. But there are many communications tasks that SAIs can undertake prior to a disaster to improve preparedness. Investing time and manpower now, while the learnings from the current Covid-19 situation are still pertinent, is critical to improve a SAIs’ communication capacity. This will enable SAIs to save time in disseminating key messages, to minimize chaos and manage stakeholder expectations once disaster strikes in future.
 
On 3 December, we held a well-attended Webinar to present this paper and engage with SAIs on their activities and challenges related to meeting stakeholder expectations during disaster situations. We also had the opportunity to share the paper with participants of the East and Southern African Association of Accountants-General (ESAAG) at their Organisational Resilience Online Webinar.






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