President Ramaphosa has assented to the Auditing Profession Amendment Act.
Parliament passed the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill in March 2021 and sent it to the president for assent.
The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces for concurrence in December 2020.
The bill was tabled in parliament in February 2020.
The act aims to amend the Auditing Profession Act, 2005, so as to:
• insert a definition;
• strengthen the governance of the Regulatory Board;
• strengthen the investigating and disciplinary processes;
• provide for the power to enter and search premises and to subpoena persons with information required for an investigation or disciplinary process;
• provide for the power to issue a warrant for purposes of entering and searching of premises;
• provide for processes to be followed after an investigation;
• provide for sanctions in admission of guilt process and following a disciplinary hearing;
• provide for offences relating to investigation and disciplinary process;
• provide for the protection and sharing of information;
• provide for transitional measures; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
The act sets down how the investigating committee, disciplinary committee and subcommittees of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) are to be constituted.
Detail is provided on powers to enter and search premises, warrants, process following investigation, disciplinary hearing and sanctions in admission of guilt process.
In order to strengthen the independence of the IRBA and address issues of conflict of interest by members of the IRBA, the amendments prohibit registered auditors and candidate auditors from being appointed as members of the IRBA.
The amendments also seek to empower the investigating committee to authorise an official of the IRBA to enter and search premises or subpoena any person with information required to complete an investigation in order to address issues of non-cooperation by auditing firms during improper conduct investigations.
The IRBA will also be able to, if appropriate, refer a matter brought against a registered auditor to an accredited professional body for investigation.
The act came into effect on the date of publication.
Meanwhile, speaking at the end of last week on the global economic outlook and Africa: 2021 and beyond, the finance minister, Tito Mboweni, declared that “eliminating corruption in government and the private sector means we should all eschew the shameless pursuit of wealth at the expense of the poor”.
The minister also pointed out that the “Covid-19 pandemic has shown how interdependent we are on one another as a global community”.
As a consequence, “narrow nationalism and xenophobia” need to be shunned.
The minister indicated that a “well-functioning digital economy can help accelerate achievement of shared prosperity and reduced poverty in South Africa and the rest of the continent”.
Treasury also recently published a Guideline on Budget Submissions for Large Strategic Infrastructure Proposals.
Treasury is currently working with stakeholders to support the development of a robust pipeline of infrastructure projects.
“The aim is to support quality public investments through robust project appraisal, effective project development and execution and sustainable financing arrangements.”
Submissions are invited on the 2021 Adjustments Budget and the 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
Treasury also recently announced the appointment of Unathi Kamlana as Commissioner of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to serve a five-year term.
Astrid Ludin has also been appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of the FSCA.