South Africa faces a shortage of more than 5 000 chartered accountants and government has the huge task of trying to fill the more than 40 perent vacant posts in the fi profession. To tackle this problem head-on, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) will, over the next four years, inject a whopping R84 million into the accounting department of the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape.
A further R64 million will be allocated to the University of Zululand by the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (Bankseta) through its National Skills Fund. These investments will go towards getting the two universities accredited by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), said Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande. This will allow them to offer the Bachelor of Commerce Accounting degree and maintain teaching and learning standards that meet the demands of the chartered accountancy profession.
The initiative has been made possible through a partnership with SAICA, the University of Cape Town and other industry partners. SAICA will provide administrative support, while the University of Cape Town will provide academic support to ensure the universities get re-accredited.
“It is very encouraging that the re-accreditation of these universities is happening within a context where there is an insufficient number of black chartered accountants in South Africa,” added Minister Nzimande.
“For us to reach communities such as Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal is a fulfilling exercise as it assists us to widely build a case for skills development in the communities that really need empowering,” said Bankseta CEO Max Makhubalo.
To date the DHET has invested more than R320 million through the National Skills Fund to improve and grow the accounting profession.
“It is even more exciting that this trans- formative programme was launched at one of our rural universities because there is a real need to reach more rural learners than the two currently accredited universities can reach, as that will greatly improve particularly the number of African chartered accountants, which currently stands at just under 2 500,” Makhubalo said.
Of the 34 418 chartered accountants in South Africa, only 1 100 are African female and 1 339 African male; 468 are coloured female with 478 coloured males; 1 347 are Indian female with 1 936 Indian male; and 7 768 are white female with 19 852 white males.
Other universities that have been accredited through a joint partnership between the department and SAICA are Fort Hare and Limpopo.
Through these projects students will be able to earn high-quality undergraduate degrees with international recognition, while the economy will gain a new breed of chartered accountants who will make a difference in their communities.