Today, the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA) has joined in the country-wide celebrations of Human Rights Day with a focus on auditors for accountability and human rights.

Guided by the  theme  “Three Decades of Respect for and Promotion of Human Rights”, President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday deliver the keynote address at the 2024 Human Rights Day commemoration to be held at the George Thabe Stadium in Sharpeville, Gauteng.

SAIGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Russell Morena says that as an organisation dedicated to promoting good governance and transparency in the public sector, SAIGA recognises the importance of upholding human rights in all facets of society, particularly within government institutions.

Human Rights Day commemorates the Sharpeville massacre on March 21, 1960, when unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed by police during a peaceful protest against apartheid pass laws.

This day, therefore, serves as a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices made by those who fought for human rights and equality in South Africa. It also symbolises the ongoing commitment to upholding human rights in the country and serves as a call to action for all South Africans to work towards a just and equitable society.

“As auditors, SAIGA members play a crucial role in promoting accountability, transparency, and good governance within the public sector. They are responsible for ensuring that government funds are used efficiently and effectively, and that public institutions adhere to ethical and legal standards. By holding public officials and institutions accountable, auditors contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights, as they help to prevent corruption, the misuse of funds, and other malpractices that can undermine the rights of citizens,” says Morena.

He says SAIGA celebrates Human Rights Day by reaffirming its commitment to promoting accountability and human rights in the public sector. “Through its training programmes, advocacy efforts, and professional development initiatives, the organisation equips its members with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively carry out their responsibilities as auditors. This includes conducting thorough and independent audits, reporting on findings, and recommending corrective actions to ensure that public resources are used for the benefit of all South Africans,” Morena adds.

In addition to its direct work in the public sector, Morena further says that SAIGA also partners with civil society organisations, human rights groups, and other stakeholders to advocate for good governance and transparency. “By collaborating with these groups, SAIGA contributes to the broader human rights agenda in South Africa, amplifying the impact of its efforts and fostering a culture of accountability across the country,” Morena says.

On this Human Rights Day,  South Africans must all continue to uphold the values of justice, equality, and respect for human dignity.  “SAIGA’s work in this regard is crucial to achieving these goals. Let us all work together to ensure that the principles of Human Rights Day are upheld throughout the year, and that the legacy of those who fought for human rights in South Africa is honoured through our commitment to accountability and transparency,” concludes Morena.