Home Articles Special Report – SAICA’s successes in professional development

Special Report – SAICA’s successes in professional development


South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) focuses on education as one of its priorities to address the issue of transformation and growth in the country.

Some of the NDP’s priorities are:

  • Eradicate infrastructure backlogs.
  • Provide one million learning opportunities through community education and training centres.
  • Improve the throughput pass rate to 80 per cent by 2030.
  • Increase enrolment at universities by at least 70 per cent.

This ethos is clearly mirrored in SAICA’s unit that focuses on Professional Development, Transformation and Growth.


Aspiring chartered accountants achieved excellent results in Part II of the Qualifying Examination, Financial Management (QE II), towards becoming CAs(SA).

The overall pass rate for QE II, which was written in November 2013, was 86 per cent, an all-time high from the previous year’s 78 per cent. A total of 209 candidates sat for the 2013 examination whereas only 182 candidates wrote the examination in 2012.

Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive Professional Development at SAICA, said that more African candidates wrote and passed this crucial examination. She pointed out that the number of African candidates passing had risen from 63 in 2012 to 102 in 2013 and that more than half of the successful candidates were therefore African – a milestone indeed.

“The overall pass rate among Indians, African and Coloured candidates was 84 per cent, up on last year’s 71 per cent,” said Olivier.

The QE II and Public Practice Examination (PPE) will be replaced in November 2014 with one assessment for all prospective CAs(SA), irrespective of where they are undertaking their training. This new form of assessment will be known as the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). The APC has been designed to more appropriately assess professional competence taking into account changes in education and assessment as well as looking to assessing key skills sought after by employers.

SAICA ensures that is evolves within an ever-dynamic CA(SA) environment, ensuring that qualifications remain relevant to industry requirements and dynamics. This is probably why international bodies such as the World Economic Forum and the World Bank rate SAICA so highly and why the CA(SA) designation is sought after globally.

How do we assist and support students?

Through its Thuthuka programmes, SAICA is continually seeking ways to support the development of CAs(SA), specifically Africans and Coloureds, in an attempt to meet one of our key strategic drivers in facilitating the transformation of the profession. As this is the final step in the qualification process, SAICA offers practical assistance to candidates.

To date, the Thuthuka programmes have contributed a quarter of newly qualified African and Coloured CAs(SA).

Two Thuthuka beneficiaries’ stories

James Sithembele

“I am so excited to hear that I have passed the IRBA Public Practice Examination (Audit), which was my last professional board exam to becoming a chartered accountant.

“This is great news. The Thuthuka programme has played a massive role in me being where I am today. I now have until the end of the year to finish my articles at Deloitte.

“My family would never have been able to put me through university. Through hard work and my faith in God I was able to study at one of South Africa’s best universities at no cost to my family. I usually say when I talk to other young people: the Thuthuka bursary was designed with people like me in mind. It requires nothing but your commitment to academic excellence on your way to becoming a chartered accountant.

“Thank you to Unathi Speirs who believed in me when there seemed to be no way. Thank you to Lwando Bantom from SAICA who is the pillar of strength in our Eastern Cape region. Thank you to Nthato and Desmond from SAICA who came to NMMU to give a presentation on ‘Attitude’ in 2011 – when I was so negative because I had failed my honours. They changed my life for the better. I have never failed since then.

“Thank you to Chantyl Mulder from SAICA who heads the Professional Development, Transformation and Growth unit and who bravely knocked on various doors seeking funding and support for a black kid. This is transformed action in itself.

“I will never forget the role you all played. I vow to be one of the best community-centred and empowering individuals – this is how we change communities: you impact one person and that person impacts others.”

The Vusi Nkabini story

Vusi Nkabini is 52 years old and has just added the prestigious CA(SA) designation to his name.

After Vusi had completed matric in 1981 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, he worked for years as a laboratory technician. Then he went to Rhodes University to pursue his dream of qualifying as a chartered accountant. He attended Rhodes from 1986 to1989 and completed his BCom degree followed by the CTA. He then wrote the board examinations five times and failed.

In 2008 he again enrolled for the CTA, but contracted chickenpox. In 2009 he enrolled once again. This time the taxi that he was travelling in broke down. He had to run five kilometres to the exam venue and arrived an hour late. Not surprisingly, he experienced anxiety and was able to finish only one question. He re-wrote the examination in 2011 and had one supplementary examination to write.

Finally, in 2012, he wrote QE 1 and passed. He enrolled for PPE in 2013 and heard on 21 February 2014 that he had passed and that he can finally add the sought-after CA(SA) designation to his name. He describes his joy as “dizzy” and for a 52-year-old, this can be a fulfilling experience indeed.

To Vusi, he is a worthy role model to his three children: an 18-year-old son (who is currently in Grade 12), a 15-year-old daughter, and a 12-year-old son.

Who says that chartered accountants are dull and boring people in grey suits? What do some of them do in their spare time (when they manage to get some)?

Says Vusi: “I grew up playing soccer. I also have a deep love for music, especially South African gospel and choral music. I follow national cricket, rugby and soccer. I love eco-tourism and enjoy travelling and admiring our country’s natural beauty.”

And then there’s karate: “I obtained a karate black belt in 2004 and visited Japan where I trained under, among others, Master Hirokazu Kanazawa, Master Manabu Murakami and Master Tatsuo Suzuki. I obtained a few gold and silver medals in karate competitions, but unfortunately my karate career was cut short by a groin muscle injury.” ❐