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SAIPA and Mpumalanga Treasury Partnership

boosts professional competency and youth employment in province's public sector
South African Institute of Professional Accountants
25 May 2022

SAIPA and Mpumalanga Treasury Partnership boosts professional competency and youth employment in province’s public sector

On Tuesday 17th May, a group of university graduates from across Mpumalanga met in Mbombela at the Capital Mbombela Hotel to be inducted into the Public Finance Management Learnership programme.

The programme is being offered by the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury in partnership with the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), both of whom hosted the event.

“Tasked with boosting the numbers of black Professional Accountants (SA), this is the second and largest intake we’ve had since the programme with National Treasury first launched in 2018,” said Karl Smith, Senior Education, Training and Membership (ETM) Manager at SAIPA.

About the programme

SAIPA offers membership to aspiring accountants who follow its tertiary education path, complete three years of structured practical training and pass its rigorous Professional Evaluation (PE) to prove they meet the Institute’s high standard of professional excellence.

The learnership programme provides an avenue for prospective Professional Accountants (SA) to receive training without going through an accounting practice. Their practical experience will be gained in the various divisions of the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury and municipalities to gain exposure to the required competencies.

The programme contributes significantly to the National and Provincial Treasury’s ability to attract and retain key finance and accounting professionals within the departments and the broader public sector as a whole.

Speaking on behalf of the Provincial Treasury, Mr Cyril Dlamini noted: “The aim of the programme is to improve the professional competency of finance graduates and to increase their chances of employment in both the public and private sector.”

During their training period, the learners can prepare for and, on completion, take SAIPA’s PE. After passing, they will be awarded full membership and the Institute’s prestigious Professional Accountant (SA) designation.

The Professional Accountant (SA) designation is underpinned by the NQF Level 8 qualification, equivalent to an Honours degree, and identifies its holder as a world-class accountancy professional and a person of integrity.

“We are excited that the South African Institute of Professional Accountants has endorsed this learnership, thus giving quality assurance of the certification programme,” said Dlamini.

These sentiments were echoed by Mr Sechaba Motaung, SAIPA’s Quality Assurance and Practice Review Manager, as an exciting partnership between the Institute and the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury. It has had far-reaching results, entrenching a culture of accountability in Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury while creating opportunities for the province’s youth.

Deployment

The candidates will be deployed to different departments, municipalities, and public entities around the province to commence their practical training. At the event, SAIPA handed out gifts to them and they participated in group photos.

They were also introduced to their respective Overall Evaluators (OEs). “OEs are qualified Professional Accountants (SA) who are already employed at the participating municipalities or entities, and will provide essential mentoring, monitoring and support to the trainees,” said Smith.

Commitment to public finance management

During his speech, Smith highlighted that SAIPA was currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary and that it had spent those four decades contributing to human capital development and economic growth in South Africa.

He said that SAIPA was the second largest professional accountancy organisation (PAO) not only in South Africa but also on the African continent.

The fact that the Institute is a voting member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) meant that the candidates were joining a global community of some three million accountants.

SAIPA is also a founding member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), the continental body representing Africa’s professional accountants.

Smith said that the Institute’s remarkable past achievements arose because it understood the importance of building connections and forming partnerships.

“Collaborations like this are assisting us in achieving one of our key objectives – ensuring that there is a constant flow of suitably qualified accounting professionals, who are representative of the country’s demographics, into our economy,” he said.