SAIPA awards top 2019 National Accounting Olympiad winners

On Thursday, 10th October, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) hosted a special awards ceremony to honour the Top 3 national winner positions of its National Accounting Olympiad (NAO). The event took place at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng.

Held every year since 2002 at schools across the country, the NAO allows Grade 11 and 12 pupils studying accounting to compete for one of three top places per grade. According to Faith Ngwenya, Standards and Technical Executive at SAIPA, participation in the increasingly popular contest exceeded expectations. “Over 5,700 pupils wrote the test this year,” she said. “We’re very happy with the turnout and we’re anticipating even more entrants next time.”

The winners
In the Grade 12 category, Matimu Mabunda from Khanyisa Education Centre and Taariq Mowzer of Fairbairn College shared joint first place. Likewise, Justin Knopfmacher and Jesse Drieband of King David High School, along with Gilad Kangisser of Yeshiva College tied for second place. There was an astounding 6-way tie for third place between Iman Jhetam of Lenasia Muslim School, Shaun Alex of Umtata High School, Eden Walters of Middelburg Hoerskool, Alexa Msakiwe of Springfield Convent School, Chris Dean of Rondebosch Boys High School, and Tebogo Malope of Reitumetse Secondary School.

In the Grade 11 category, Nicole De Jager of St. Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls took first place, and Veren Naidoo from Rondebosch Boys High School placed second. Once again, third place saw a 6-way tie between Nadine Steyn of Maragon Mooikloof, Zintle Mshoadiba and Manelisi Ncube of Phoenix College of Johannesburg, Vaishnavi Maharajh of Durban Girls High School, Vinil Keshav of King Edward VII School, and Ruan Roodt of Hoërskool Brandwag.

“The playing field was definitely shaken up this year,” comments Ngwenya. “First, the number of joint winners shows how tight the competition really was. Also, where KZN cleaned up last year, this time it was Gauteng that rose to the challenge with the most winners. And, just looking at the diversity of schools in top positions, it’s clear that everyone brought their A-game in 2019. Well done!”

A worthy initiative
According to special guest, Percy Masango, Chief Education Specialist for Commercial Subjects at the national Department of Basic Education, the NAO meets a critical need. “Commercial subjects have been declining over the years. Initiatives like this really generate interest in learners to study the subject. We’d like to thank SAIPA for organising the competition and hope to see it grow,” he said.

Stefaan Grobler, Accounting Teacher to Grade 11 first-place winner, Nicole De Jager, said those who win are an inspiration to pupils in lower grades: “There is a role model system among students so juniors look up to successful seniors, especially the example they set and their work ethic.”

First place Grade 12 joint-winner, Matimu Mabunda, said the NAO had confirmed his desire to pursue a degree in accounting and a career as an accountant. “I will definitely join SAIPA to become a Professional Accountant (SA),” he added.

Inspiring future accountants
According to Ngwenya, the NAO plays a critical part in SAIPA’s strategy to promote accounting as a career of choice among school pupils. “Without enough pupils deciding to become accountants today, the capacity of the Profession would suffer in the future,” she said. She congratulated the winners and encouraged all schools to register their accounting champions in 2020.

A group of people posing for the camera  Description automatically generated
Photo Caption: Grade 11 Winners
(B/L) Veren Naidoo, Ruan Roodt, Manelisi Ncube, Vinil Keshav
(F/L) Nicole De Jager, Vaishnavi Maharajh, Zintle Mshoadiba, Nadine Steyn
A group of people posing for a photo  Description automatically generated

Likewise, Justin Knopfmacher and Jesse Drieband of King David High School, along with Gilad Kangisser of Yeshiva College tied for second place. Shaun Alex of Umtata High School, Eden Walters of Middelburg Hoërskool, Alexa Msakiwe of Springfield Convent School, Chris Dean of Rondebosch Boys High School, and Tebogo Malope of Reitumetse Secondary School

Photo Caption: Grade 12 Winners
(B/L) Shaun Alex, Matimu Mabunda, Taariq Mowzer
(F/L) Eden Walters, Iman Jhetam, Tebogo Malope, Alexa Msakiwe

Photo Credit: (c) Jade Photography

SAIPA National Accounting Olympiad 2019
SAIPA National Accounting Olympiad 2018
SAIPA National Accounting Olympiad 2017
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