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Delivering on SONA 2022

promises critical to winning public trust
South African Institute of Professional Accountants
21 February 2022

Delivering on SONA 2022 promises critical to winning public trust

Following President Ramaphosa’s 2022 State of the Nation (SONA) address, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) says it fully supports the government’s commitment to economic growth and good governance.

This is according to Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA. “However, we urge the President to do everything in his power to deliver swiftly and visibly on his promises to ensure the public’s trust is not further eroded,” she says.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Institute is eager to contribute its expertise to turning around the country’s fortunes and promoting incorruptible ethics in both the public and private sectors.

Red tape and job creation

Ngwenya commends the President’s acknowledgement of the bureaucratic obstacles holding back business growth and job creation. Reviewing business legislation and appointing Sipho Nkosi to a dedicated function aimed at reducing red tape is also welcomed.

“Even before COVID, the red tape involved in running a company and employing workers was killing businesses,” she says.

In addition, the proposed initiatives to support job creation in the private sector, especially in SMEs and agriculture, will have a positive impact on economic growth.

ETI extension

Ngwenya says the extension of the Employee Tax Incentive (ETI) and revision of qualifying criteria should provide relief for businesses with employees.

However, the exact nature and application of these changes will only become apparent when they are presented in the upcoming National Budget Speech.

Professionalising the public service

President Ramaphosa mentioned finalising a framework for the professionalisation of the public service as a step in building a capable, ethical and developmental state.

“This struck a chord as the Institute has already developed a programme with the University of the Western Cape to this end,” says Ngwenya.

Graduates of UWC’s Advanced Diploma in Public Administration – Public Finances Stream can immediately become Accounting Technicians (SA) and can fast-track their SAIPA membership. So can those with sufficient experience in public sector finance.

The course’s mixed learning approach means the theory students acquire is backed by practice. As a result, they only have to complete 18 months of practical training instead of the typical three years.

The students will be assisted in finding placement with an approved government employer. After training, candidates will take SAIPA’s Professional Evaluation (PE) to prove their competency and ethics.

“If they pass, they will become full members of SAIPA and be awarded the prestigious designation of Professional Accountant (SA),” says Ngwenya.

She also says the Institute is keen to partner with the government to ensure South African public finance management ranks among the best in the world.

Accountants are critical

Ngwenya notes that professional accountants play a pivotal role in economic recovery and should be a key component of any programmes and plans.

Accountants are no longer just reporters of financial health. They have become trusted strategic advisors whose guidance is critical to SME growth and success.

“As SAIPA helps professionalise public finance, accountants will play a similar role in making municipalities, SOEs and other government entities economically sustainable,” concludes Ngwenya.