What a tremendously busy month August has been. The delayed arrival of my monthly message to you says it all. Please accept my sincere apologies. I know that so many of you look forward to these updates and I would rather be a few days late than not spend time to engage with you wholeheartedly.
This month, as we continue unpacking the national theme Driving Leadership Excellence Through Inclusive Social Accountability, we focus on the word "Inclusive" and what it means for ABASA. The following words come to mind as shared at our National Leadership and Member Induction in April 2022:
· Inter - generational
The month of August has definitely been one that has highlighted our drive for inclusivity in many ways as an organisation and I hope you will see the thread as you read the update below.
Celebrating Women Beyond Women's Month
Day 1 to 31 August every year, our country marks Women’s Month. This is where we pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This year marks 65 years since the watershed 1956 Women’s March to the Union Building.
20 000 women showed up in 1956. 20 000 women mobilized and united against restrictive laws against women. How many of us are showing up in our numbers today? How many of us are standing up and using our voices and spaces to fix the most basic things that still make it difficult for women to participate equitably in the workplace, our economy and civil society.
It has been my commitment to show up for women, not only during August but beyond women's month. This year, I have had the honour and privilege to do so in the following spaces:
CFO SA and CHRO SA Women's Dinner
This annual event was hosted on the 3rd of August 2022 at the Radisson Blu in Sandton bringing together South Africa's Leading Women Finance, HR Executives and their mentees. This event was addressed by some of our very own ABASA leading women namely CEO of Deloitte Africa – Ruwayda Redfearn, AGSA Head of National Audit – Bongi Ngoma and Head of ACCA South Africa – Portia Mkhabela. This was a truly inspiring event reminding us of the power of women mentorship and lifting as we rise.
The AWCA 20th Anniversary Celebration
Even though I was not able to physically attend the African Women Chartered Accountant (AWCA) 20-year celebration on the 5th of August 2022 in Sun City, due to a family emergency, I would like to congratulate Madam President Buhle Hanise and her leadership team on the execution of this milestone event and wish AWCA more years of impact as you #MoveToMastery.
Australian Embassy Women's High Tea
On the 10th of August 2022, I had the pleasure of attending an Afternoon Tea in Celebration of Women’s Day hosted by the Australian High Commissioner – HE Ms. Gita Kamath and the Chair of the Australian Business Chamber of Commerce (Southern Africa) and the Black Businesswomen’s Alliance – Ms. Judi Nwokedi, at the Official Australian Residency. This was a beautiful gathering of women addressed by the Auditor General of South Africa and Past President of ABASA Tsakani Maluleke.
We wish the Australian High Commissioner well as her time in office comes to an end and applaud her for her deliberate leadership in creating platforms in South Africa for women.
JSE GBV Report Launch
I spent the morning of the 11th of August 2022 at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) for the launch of the GBV Report. It was in 2019 when Women of ABASA joined the march in solidarity with civil society during the #SandtonShutdown calling on the private sector to fund the fight against Gender Based Violence and Femicide. It is encouraging to see that this research into a serious pandemic in our country has been launched through this report. We must however ensure that its recommendations speak to the heart of real issues faced particularly by women, not only in the workplace (for those employed) but in our communities at large.
A special mention goes to KPMG South Africa and all other stakeholders involved for their commitment and support of this research. Let’s now work to move the needle through the work that must happen to change behaviours and protect victims of GBV.
AGSA Western Cape Women's Forum Launch
It’s always an absolute pleasure supporting our corporate members as we partner in the transformation of our country. Seeing the national launch of the AGSA Women's Forum spread throughout the country is encouraging. I had the honour of addressing the AGSA Western Cape Women as they launched their Women’s Forum on the 15th of August 2022. Thank you to Business Unit Leader Sangeeta Kallen and your office for the invitation and your amazing hospitality and leadership.
To all the AGSA women, may you always proudly declare that #IAmAGSAWoman as you raise your voices for not only yourselves but the women who will follow in your footsteps.
BDO and SABC Women's Month Dialogue
On the 25th of August, BDO South Africa in collaboration with SABC Full View hosted a women's month dialogue which included the University of Johannesburg Chancellor Dr. Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, Auditor General Tsakani Maluleke and BDO Head of Advisory Thuso Masasa.
I would like to congratulate BDO South Africa under the leadership of CEO Bonga Mokoena for creating much needed platforms for women to be seen and heard.
Barloworld – The Table is Big Enough
I had the distinct pleasure to be invited to sit at the Barloworld table on the 19th August 2022 with CEO Dominic Sewela and Barloworld Limited Family. This annual event is always a reminder that The Table is Big Enough for us all and it is our responsibility as leaders to keep seats available for those who are coming through the door behind us. I would also like to applaud Barloworld for launching the first Gender Linked Bonds in Africa. Yet another deliberate display of transformative leadership from true sector leaders in transformation.
Young Leaders Connect (YLC) IDEAL Leadership Summit and Awards
I had the privilege of joining the IWFSA and YLC IDEAL as they launched their inaugural Leadership Summit and Awards on the 1st of September 2022. This was a spectacular event showcasing the strides young women leaders are making under the mentorship of extraordinary women who have reached the pinnacle of their careers. Well done Madam President Irene Charnley for creating a space for young women to thrive. Congratulations YLC IDEAL on executing this important initiative of recognising young women.
Women of SAIPA Launch
The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) hosted a women's lunch on the 2nd of September 2022 where they launched their women's desk. It is always encouraging to see organisations take deliberate steps to create platforms to address the unique challenges of women.
The work of achieving meaningful gender equality goes beyond the events listed above. It is important that we learn from the conversations and engagements and take the action points forward into our deliberate and intentional daily acts to build better environments for women to flourish. Well done to all our stakeholders who showed up and continue to show up for women beyond women's month.
Inaugural ABASA Public Sector Conference Launch
On the 25th of August 2022 ABASA hosted its inaugural Public Sector Conference in partnership with Ince under the theme "a Capable State is a Progressive Nation”.
Well done to the ABASA and Ince Public Sector team, led by Sisonke Mvubu and Itumeleng Ndlozi respectively, for all the hard work behind the scenes.
SAICA ITC June Results
On the 26th of January 2022, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) released the results of the June (second sitting) Initial Test of Competence (ITC). An overall pass rate of 25% was achieved for this sitting contributing to a 61% cumulative pass rate when combined with the January 2022 sitting.
ABASA continues to be concerned about the significantly lower pass rate of African candidates who write this board exam. Particular focus needs to be placed on the performance of distance learning institutions such as UNISA and Historically Disadvantaged Universities (HDIs), who year on year show decreasing pass rates which significantly impact transformation imperatives in our profession.
As we continue to wait for the outcomes of investigations from SAICA which ABASA has advocated for, we are also of the view that there are low hanging interventions and recommendations that do not need to wait for investigations. We must strengthen institutions such as UNISA which produce the biggest numbers of black candidates who sit for these exams. We must also look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the pipeline from a grass roots level. This requires that we go back to basics and take active steps in fixing the foundation that has been shaken for the black child and do so equitably.
My clarion call to our stakeholders is for all of us to get intensively and deliberately involved in initiatives which seek to address the grassroot issues in our education pipeline.
Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu Lecture
On the 4th of August 2022, ABASA held the 5th Annual Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu Lecture delivered by CEO of SNG-GT and Past President of ABASA, Victor Sekese. For the first time since its inception the lecture was held outside of Gauteng at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. Click here to read more and watch the video.
A huge thank you to our headline sponsor for this year's lecture, SAPRO and the amazing team of talented young leaders who rallied behind ABASA with the vision of making this a truly memorable lecture for Professor Nkuhlu in his home province.
ABASA Professional Excellence Dinners and President's Roadshow 2022
After kicking off the journey the 2022 President's Roadshow in June in the United States, I had the profound privilege of visiting all our branches – Gauteng, Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Free State.
Each branch visit included attending the ABASA Professional Excellence Dinner (APE) in that province, which was an opportunity to meet our branch leadership, our newly qualified professionals and student leaders. This roadshow was also focused on getting closer to our universities and their leadership with the aim of ensuring that the support for the work that our student chapters are doing is strengthened and that they are given the appropriate guidance. I would therefore like to thank the following Heads of Departments: Bonita Raymond (University of Western Cape), Sphelele Khomo (University of Zululand), Prof Simatele Munacinga (University of Fort Hare), Stanford Mutyambizi (University of Limpopo), Prof Frans Prinsloo (University of Free State) and Prof Ben Marx (University of Johannesburg) for your amazing hospitality and support throughout this journey. I look forward to working closer with you all through our branches.
A special thank you goes to Investec Private Banking for joining us on this amazing journey of celebrating black excellence in our profession as the headline sponsor for the ABASA Professional Excellence Dinners.
Please follow our social media platforms to see pictures and videos from our dinners.
The Forum Magazine is finally out and available for reading. A huge thank you to all our contributors for your support in reviving this important publication. We look forward to revealing the next biannual publication. Details on how to contribute will be communicated soon.
It has been a busy month and there is still so much more to do as we build towards our final event for the year. I am always encouraged by your emails and messages of support to ABASA. Thank you to all our members who contribute and go the extra mile voluntarily to do their part to lift others as they climb. We see you, appreciate you and know that through your selfless giving to others your territory is expanded.
Keep safe till we see each other in October.