We have recently received several queries from members relating to our disciplinary process. This follows public revelations through the media or other forums of public inquiry that allude to a breach of SAICA’s Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) which may have occurred.
We note our members’ concern that we do not always react immediately and/or publicly to these allegations.
I want to reassure you that SAICA takes all allegations or revelations relating to potential misconduct extremely seriously. We monitor the media (including social media) daily and SAICA initiates investigations into member conduct either after receiving a complaint or because we have decided, based on the information available to us, that a potential breach of the Code may have occurred.
As you will know, over the last 18 months we have invested heavily in our capacity to investigate complex cases and conduct a professional disciplinary process. We would like to remind members of the disciplinary process and direct them to where they can access more detailed information. To view this process or make a complaint please click here.
SAICA follows due process and investigates all cases without fear or favour. The initial investigation phase, in which SAICA gathers factual evidence, testimony and conducts relevant due diligence, is confidential. In the interests of procedural fairness and as prescribed in the SAICA by-laws, SAICA does not comment publicly, either in traditional media or on social media, on any member who is the subject of an investigation or media commentary during this phase. This protects the reputation of the individual members involved (who may well be innocent) and also safeguards third parties who may be mentioned in a complaint but who have no opportunity, as non-members, to explain themselves during our disciplinary process.
If an investigation concludes and there is sufficient evidence to suggest that a member may have breached the Code, that member will then be charged under the relevant section of the Code. At that point the process becomes public should I, as the CEO, deem it appropriate. This is in line with the SAICA by-laws. The member will have the opportunity to appear before an independent committee (either the Professional Conduct Committee or the Disciplinary Committee) chaired by a senior lawyer, generally an advocate or a retired judge. All cases before the Disciplinary Committee are open to the public unless the independent chair finds there are extraordinary circumstances requiring the case to be heard in camera (private). The findings of these committees are also published where there is a guilty finding. Details of past cases, findings and pending hearings can be found on our Governance website by clicking here.
If you have reason to believe any member may have breached the Code, please utilise the complaints process for which you can find details on the SAICA Governance website. Currently, a number of cases are being investigated or are subject to disciplinary processes. All public information relating to these cases is available on the SAICA Governance website.
I trust this provides the necessary clarity.
Freeman Nomvalo, SAICA CEO