Road to clean audits

Help for municipal finance officials

SAICA development manager, Natalie Zimmelman.
Natalie Zimmelman

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has developed a programme aimed at capacitating municipal finance officials to enable them to meet minimum competencies.

It is envisaged that this project will help municipalities achieve clean audits.

The project also trains unemployed graduates, thus assisting them to find employment.

SAICA development manager Natalie Zimmelman says the institute has undertaken various programmes aimed at addressing the financial skills shortage within municipalities. 

“These programmes have previously been aimed at two levels, namely the chief financial officer level and the financial clerk level.  However, the SAICA municipalities programme aims to address the level between these, namely that of the financial manager level, as well as other associated financial management positions such as supply chain manager."  

The SAICA municipalities programme is funded by the National Skills Fund of the Department of Higher Education and Training to the tune of R72-million. National Treasury, the SAICA and Deloitte Learning Alliance, which conducts training, are all part of the project.

The programme offers on-the-job training to improve the skills and legal compliance of municipal finance officials and, in so doing, enhance service delivery.

During his 2011/12 Budget Speech, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi identified governance and financial management as some of the factors hampering service delivery in municipalities.

Phase One of the project, which is expected to be completed next month, focused on the three provinces: Gauteng, North West and KwaZulu-Natal, and enrolled unemployed graduates and employed officials, while Phase Two is being rolled out nationally and includes employed municipal officials as well as National Treasury interns.

Learners are placed on a work readiness programme covering soft skills through a structured, non-accredited programme.

This is followed by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority-accredited skills programme covering 15 unit standards delivered over a period of 15 months.

Mentoring and coaching is a critical part of this capacity-building project. One of the desired outcomes is that unemployed graduates and interns will find permanent jobs within municipalities or any other relevant sector.

 

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