SAICA responds to Minister Nzimande's call to boost FET Colleges

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is now actively recruiting retired Chartered Accountants CAs(SA) and seconding industry veterans to perform as CFOs, vetting administrative assistants and is finalising its strategy and operations to assist Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

This is in response to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, who has called on SAICA to assist in the roll-out of FET funding by sourcing and placing retired or seconded CAs(SA) in these roles on a medium-term basis. SAICA's Senior Executive: Professional Development, Transformation & Growth Chantyl Mulder says the accounting institute is working around the clock to deliver on the project. "The impact that the FETs can have on South Africa cannot be underestimated. They need to facilitate development support for sectors such as engineering, construction, agriculture, finance and technology. Enabling South Africa's FETs to perform as they should is key to developing many of the critical skills we need to grow the economy," said Mulder. "Our members have the expertise and experience to get the right systems in place and share their skills to establish a sustainable financial and governance model going forward," she adds.

24 FET colleges have been earmarked for a radical intervention process as a prerequisite for much-needed Government funding. None of these 24 FETs currently employ a Chief Financial Officer. Without qualified CFOs in place, billions of rands in funding cannot be released by Government. This would affect over 200 000 students. "We can't be putting money into colleges that do not have financial officers. It's very risky," the Minister said in a press statement last month.

"We have been in discussions with SAICA and they have agreed to help us find temporary CFOs who will establish proper financial procedures in these colleges. They will also ensure that appropriate skills are in put in place so that these institutions can function optimally and independently in the future."

The Minister announcement last month that an audit would be conducted on all FETs as part of plans to transform them into institutions of choice for tertiary study. The targeted FETs are located in the three South African provinces first up for review - KZN (9), Eastern Cape (8) and Limpopo (7). The remaining provinces may follow suit.

Minister Nzimande clearly recognises the urgency of the task at hand and is taking swift action. It seems he is also mindful that the funding which is released needs to deliver results. The Department last month announced that FET enrolment had increased by

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