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Give us work, Black accountants plead with Minister Gigaba

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Give us work, Black accountants plead with Minister Gigaba

To: All news media
Date: 15 August 2011
Embargo: For immediate release
Give us work, Black accountants plead with Minister Gigaba 
Black accountants did not hold back when they engaged the Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, in a robust debate today in Pretoria on challenges facing their profession.
Minister Gigaba, who was accompanied by Deputy Minister, Dikobe Ben Martins, and the Director General, Tshediso Matona, met members of the Black Firm Forum, a chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA), over breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria.
Black accountants did not mince their words when they outlined the different challenges they faced in the industry, saying the industry is still discriminatory and restrictive while not contributing to skills development and employment of young accounting graduates. 
Wilfred Ngubane (CA), CEO of Ngubane and Co, told the Ministry that Government and State-Owned Companies (SOC) still feed into the myth that only the big four auditing firms in the country have the capacity and technical competence to handle complex accounting projects. 
The big four auditing firms in the country referred to are Deloitte, Ernest and Young, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers. 
On the contrary, Mr Ngubane added that most black firms have the same and relevant technical competence as their white counterparts as experts employed at black firms trained at the same institutions that trained experts for the big four. Further, some of the experts employed by them were previously employed by the big four auditing firms.
“The notion that black accounting firms do not have capacity and technical competence is a myth,” said Ngubane.  
Black accountants also decried the lack of work for their services particularly within Government and SOC as there is always an over-reliance on the big four auditing firms for their services.
“Minister, with due respect I think you must give a directive that all State-Owned Companies should be audited by black firms,” remarked one of the black accountants present at the meeting.
Minister Gigaba remarked that it was a great travesty that the black accountants, the same people that helped to liberate the country from an oppressive past and usher in a new Government, were the same people “begging” the Government to provide them with employment opportunities.
“I’m of the view that something must be done for black firms in the country,” said Minister Gigaba.
The Minister added that as much as SOC are to drive investment, efficiencies and transformation within the SOC and their customers and their suppliers to unlock growth, create jobs and develop skills, it should not be business as usual in terms of transformation.
Minister Gigaba said he will discuss the issues highlighted by black firms during his regular meeting next week with the Chairpersons’ and Chief Executive Officers of all SOC in his portfolio at  the Chairperson’s Forum.
“SOC are crucial enablers for economic activity. SOC must enable Government to achieve its socio-economic goals. But the responsibility of SOC like Transnet is not only to provide rail and ports infrastructure and ensure that they perform efficiently but also to ensure that they increase the participation of black people in the mainstream economy. Transformation of the economy is very important. We will raise this issues sharply with them,” he said.
The Minister added that the Department will ensure that transformation at SOC will become a key performance indicator for the Boards of the SOC and the respective Boards will be held responsible for missing targets.
“We have embedded the issue of transformation into the vision of the Department so that while we achieve efficiency and investment, there needs to be a commitment from the customers and suppliers of SOC in transforming the economy of the country,” said Minister Gigaba.
Nonkululeko Gobogo (CA), a partner at black accounting and auditing firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobogo, said black firms are key in developing black accountants and the lack of employment opportunities from Government and SOC denies them that opportunity to train more accountants. 
“We are not getting quality work from Government and we need to work to continue to employ more people,” added Ms Gobodo.
Earlier Mr Ngubane decried the late payment of invoices from SOC as one of the major challenges facing the industry like the rest of black professionals in the country.
“There is no reason why black firms cannot be paid by SOC within 5 working days from the date of receipt of the invoice when services have been received. Even the maximum of 30 days policy to pay service providers is not complied with by Government. What happens to a person who fails to pay firms outside the 30 days policy? There is no punishment but black firms struggle to get any overdraft or loans from banks,” Mr Ngubane concluded. 
For further information please contact Mayihlome Tshwete, Minister Gigaba spokesperson on 0728692477 or email:   
Issued by the Ministry of Public Enterprises
15 August 2011
Page last modified:24/02/2014 11:24