The George Municipality was honoured to host the recent Western Cape Provincial Municipal Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Forums.
The forums took place on 19-20 September 2023 in George and were divided into two sessions: the Chief Audit Executive (CAE) Forum for all Heads of Internal Audit in the province and the Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Forum for Risk Management Officials.
The Forums aim to promote the implementation of Internal Audit and Risk Management within municipalities in the Western Cape, while also facilitating and sharing best practices and support. Established to provide centres for learning, the forums’ agenda is guided by the most prevalent issues burdening these disciplines.
The forums have evolved considerably since inception and have become the voice of the local government CROs and CAEs at professional bodies such as the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa, the Public Sector Audit Committee Forum, the Institute of Risk Management South Africa, National Forums, etc. The Forums were well attended by various Provincial Government officials and Internal Audit and Risk Management representatives of the various municipalities in the Western Cape.
The Forums were opened by the Chairperson of the CAE Forum, Mr JP Rossouw, who is also the CAE of the George Municipality; followed by a Keynote Address from the George Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz. The Municipal Manager (MM) shared her insights and expertise on “What Executive Stakeholders expect from a future-fit Internal Audit Function”. This address set the tone for the Forums and contributed significantly to the discussions. The MM’s vision and experience aligned closely with the objectives for the events, and all agreed that the address left a lasting impact on the audience.
Dr Gratz’s words reminded the attendees that they must be curious, constantly learning, and embracing the exciting future ahead. Her speech covered a number of must-haves which are needed for Internal Audit to be Future-Fit – in summary: “Internal audit must ensure that it is aligned with the organisation, being a key strategic role-player and advisor. Internal Audit needs to add value, streamline operations and be versatile. For example, George is one of the first municipalities to introduce agile auditing. In other words, when an audit starts and an issue is identified, the audit can immediately change course and respond to that issue. Internal Audits must keep up with all the latest legislation and regulations and ensure that they are implemented.
“Internal audit will in the future have to be much more proactive and in the rapidly changing environment within which all municipalities find themselves, the education of officials as to the purpose of Internal Audit is key. With the advent of artificial intelligence and smart city principles, internal audits will have to proactively identify risks and assist with controls finally Internal Audit must have a positive impact on the performance of the organisation and foster a good and trusted relationship with the various stakeholders involved.”
Various speakers presented noteworthy topics addressing burning issues in the audit and risk disciplines. The day was earmarked with interactive discussions and knowledge-sharing initiatives, including Agile Auditing, Combined Assurance, Cyber Security, and Energy Resilience.
Thanks to the George Municipal Internal Audit team for all the hard work and arrangements to have hosted such a successful event.