SAICA CEO Freeman Nomvalo calls on professionals to help improve regulatory system

"If you come forward and help us, you are helping the system work," Freeman said.

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) CEO Freeman Nomvalo has called on people within corporates to come forward and help the regulatory body improve the system that holds its members accountable.

“SAICA is not a statutory body. It’s not an extension of government,” he said in an interview with News24, explaining that it is the custodian of the chartered accountancy profession in South Africa and, as such, is tasked with disciplining members who fall within and outside of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors’ (IRBA) umbrella. Where its members are both CA(SA) holders and auditors, the IRBA, which is a statutory body, leads the disciplinary hearings and SAICA's actions are informed by the regulator's findings.

He said that, being a professional body that is governed by the rules its members agree on, all SAICA can do is improve its rules and code of professional conduct. But without the power to subpoena evidence or investigate criminal charges, there is a vacuum in its ability to hold members accountable, one that needs to be filled by the authorities. 

“If authorities who have the power to subpoena evidence were investigating these matters, or if people within corporates were more willing to share information on their own or through pressure exerted by shareholders, the work of professional bodies would be much easier,” Freeman said. “If you guys come forward and help us with the information that you have, you are helping this system work. What would make the system not work is if there are those who do not step forward.”