The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is delivering a steady stream of qualified CAs(SA) from previously disadvantaged groups into the financial and accounting sector through its Thuthuka Nation Building project, transforming the profession while building our nation in line with the vision of the National Development Plan (NDP).
Correcting the divides of the past by transforming the demographic make-up of the accounting profession seemed an almost insurmountable challenge, particularly since qualifying as a Chartered Accountant [CA(SA)] is a costly and very long seven-year journey which is beyond reach for many students.
Lack of black CAs(SA)
Recognising the lack of black CAs(SA) in the profession relative to the population demographics, 13 years ago, SAICA took the responsibility upon itself to build a pipeline of black chartered accountants for the profession who are representative of the country’s demographics. It does this through its Thuthuka transformation and growth strategy.
Thanks to SAICA’s Thuthuka Bursary Fund (TBF), more than 1,000 previously disadvantaged African and Coloured South Africans have qualified as CAs(SA).
Given that it takes a minimum of seven years to become a qualified CAs(SA), this is a remarkable achievement as the bursary only began to bear fruit when its first cohort of students (who began studying in 2005), qualified in 2012.
Through Thuthuka, a substantial pipeline of future CAs(SA) has also been established. Each year, the bursary takes in a new cohort of between 250 and 300 students who are pursuing the CA(SA) designation. This means that in the pipeline there are currently:
- 763 African and Coloured students completing their SAICA-accredited undergraduate BCom degree at accredited universities;
- 546 students doing their CTA Programme, SAICA’s Accounting Honours Equivalent qualification; and
- 649 Thuthuka beneficiaries who have already completed their university education and are completing their three-year training contracts.
‘‘Thanks to Thuthuka, I never had to stress about food, accommodation or books. It was all taken care of. This removed a lot of the pressure on me. In fact, all I had to do to show my appreciation was to do well.” – Tshidiso Maduwa, a TBF beneficiary and qualified CA(SA)
“Had it not been for the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, I would have been just another statistic of a child who had potential but could not make it due to a lack of capital and resources.” – Khotso Mokhachane, Thuthuka beneficiary and CA(SA) Trainee at Grant Thornton South Africa
In addition to the change SAICA has affected in the lives of hundreds of individuals, the impact of the project on the profession – and the country – has been substantial.
When Thuthuka started, there were only 259 African and 188 Coloured CAs(SA). They comprised less than 2% of the total SAICA CA(SA) membership.
Today, African and Coloured CAs(SA) comprise 16% of the total CA(SA) membership, reflecting the impact on the accounting profession as measured by the increase in demographic membership of African and Coloured CAs(SA) that have qualified since the project’s inception.
We are very proud of Thuthuka and the impact it is having, not only on talented young individuals, but also on our profession and on the building of our nation, through long-term, sustainable projects that benefit all stakeholders.
A key driver of SAICA’s strategic objectives is the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 (NDP) that calls on the private and public sectors, as well as civil society, to rally behind a united vision for the country’s development.
Thuthuka is a fine example of how a private entity such as SAICA can work together with government to aid the national drive for transformation, employment and growth that will deliver social and economic development.