Tsakani Maluleke
SA's new auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke.
  • Tsakani Maluleke, South Africa’s new auditor general, has been with the public finance watchdog since 2014.
  • Maluleke has strong credentials in the accounting profession, and is currently the chair of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
  • She grew up in Soshanguve, and her father was a high court judge. Maluleke’s sister is the CEO of African Bank.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

On Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed the appointment of Tsakani Maluleke as auditor-general for the next seven years.

She must fill big shoes: her predecessor, Kimi Makwetu, was known as an unrelenting fighter for good governance in public finance, uncovering – among other things - fraud as part of state capture, and rampant mismanagement across the public sector. Most recently, the auditor-general’s office revealed the mismanagement of the UIF’s temporary Covid-19 unemployment payouts, and of the temporary unemployment grants. He died earlier this month, shortly after finishing his seven-year term as auditor-general.

But the 44-year old Maluleke has strong credentials herself. She has been working alongside Makwetu as the country’s deputy auditor-general since 2014, and has been closely involved in shaping the auditor-general’s offices into a formidable force, with more than 1,300 audit professionals.

Here’s what we know about her

She grew up in Soshanguve, and started working in her family’s supermarket at age nine

While her father was a lawyer and later judge at the Venda High Court, the family also owned a supermarket and she started working as a cashier from age nine, she told  Dudu Msomi in her Wisdom Personified interview series.

In 1987, the family left Soshanguve and moved to Johannesburg. Over the holidays, she would stay in Soshanguve and worked in the store along with other family members, where she later learned the basics of accounting, including reconciling the day’s cash takings.

In Johannesburg, she went to boarding school and Maluleke told Msomi that one incident left an indelible impression. Soon after moving to the new school, she received the top score in an English comprehension test. When the headmistress learned this, she came to her class and called Maluleke to the front. The headmistress then proceeded to berate her classmates – who were predominantly white and English-speaking – for allowing a “girl who’s just arrived from a township school” to beat them at an English comprehension test.

“This engrained in me the notion (to) always move against the grain, try that much harder and accept that not everyone is going to like it,” she told Msomi.

Her father was a high-court judge – and Maluleke nearly followed him into law

Her father, George Maluleke, served as a judge at the Johannesburg High Court for fourteen years. He passed away in 2017.

When she matriculated from the St Andrew’s School for Girls in Senderwood, Johannesburg, she decided to study law. Her dad advised her to do an undergraduate degree in commerce because of the dearth of black people in commercial law, Maluleke told Msomi.

She studied at the University of Cape Town, and soon realised that she would rather build a career in accountancy.

This was partly because of an experience she had doing holiday work at a financial services firm. She asked a manager why there were so few black auditors, and he said that’s because “black people struggle with the board exam”.

There and then, she decided to prove him wrong and pursue chartered accountancy, “because that's where black people should be represented,”Maluleke told Msomi.

She graduated with a BCom (Accounting) in 1996 and a post-graduate diploma in accountancy (1997). Maluleke completed her articles at PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked at the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the black-owned investment group Izingwe Holdings.

In 2014, Makweti recruited her to become deputy auditor-general.

She served on many, many boards

Through the years, Maluleke was a director of Aberdare Cables (Africa’s largest cable manufacturer), Onelogix, the Public Investments Corporation, Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, the FAIS Ombud, and Fasset (the Seta for the finance, accounting, management consulting and other financial services sector) which she chaired.

She is currently the chairperson of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).

Maluleke also served on the Presidential BEE Advisory Council where she led a sub-committee that developed recommendations that influenced key amendments to legislation and regulations relating to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. She is also a past president of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa.

Her sister is CEO of African Bank

Maluleke has three siblings - two sisters and a brother.

Her younger sister, Basani Maluleke, was appointed CEO of African Bank in 2018, the first black woman to head a commercial bank in South Africa.

She is a Formula One fan

Judging from her Twitter account, Maluleke is a keen follower of motor sport – and of Lewis Hamilton, in particular.

She's also a tennis fan: 

She has two daughters, and has been married twice.

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