People of the troubled Ditsobotla Local Municipality in the North West province would be happy to know that they have an ally in the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA).

The Institute, today, announced that it has taken on the challenge and responsibility of championing the custom of putting “Citizens First”. The culture needs cultivation among professionals, particularly in government institutions. Therefore, leading by example, SAIGA Steps up to the Mark to help improve governance issues in Ditsobotla. The North West municipality forms part of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality.

“We are engaging Ditsobotla, and plans are afoot to assist them at no cost,” said Russel Morena, SAIGA Chief Executive Officer, during his closing remarks at the two-day conference which took place at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Menlyn, Pretoria.

“Over a significant period, Ditsobotla has made headline news for not handling (right) their financial administration affairs. Therefore, in helping the municipality, the SAIGA technical team will focus on financial management, internal controls and audit matters.

“At the heart of our gesture is to positively contribute to improving the dire situation of service delivery in the communities under the local governance of Ditsobotla.

“Moreover, our constructive engagement with Ditsobotla demonstrates our commitment to intervene where necessary and make a meaningful contribution to a change that makes life better for citizens. So, for this year’s conference, we did not just engage our panellists and speakers, saying they must share perspectives. We took it upon ourselves not only to drive discussions but also lead in steering things towards solutions-oriented action.”

The intervention at Ditsobotla comes at a time of the second SAIGA conference under the theme – Step up to the Mark. It is a subject matter that links with the “Citizens Come First” message of the first SAIGA conference last year. This year’s conference boasted a stellar lineup of speakers.

In her opening speech, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs focused on the proficient administration role professionals have to play in national endeavours meant to better the lives of citizens.

Additionally, numerous other subject matters putting citizens first were discussed. For instance, “Improving Audit Outcomes” was a talking point tackled by Phuti Phukubje, Edmond Shoko, Pranisha Rama and Jeanine Poggiolini. Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng gave the main speech at the SAIGA 2022 Gala Dinner.

The two-day SAIGA conference concluded with an award ceremony, in which excellence in government accounting and auditing sectors was recognised.