We are well into the new financial year and it promises to be an exciting period for the Fasset team, as we reap the rewards of the new initiatives we have pioneered, continue to influence the futures of tomorrow's finance and accounting services talent and facilitate the skills that will sustain the sector well into the future.

In recent months, the communications team has been devoting its energies on finalising the Seta's annual integrated report for 2016/2017, which will be tabled in parliament in September. Nothing on the year's marketing agenda focuses the mind quite like the compilation of this document, as it reveals the true extent of our activities and the impact they have on beneficiaries. It makes for great reading and we look forward to launching it to our stakeholders at the Annual General Meeting on the 21st September.

This issue highlights some recent successes in programmes that are cornerstones of our strategy. Our Lifelong Learning events, for one, are always popular with our stakeholders, and we look at one that is particularly well attended - our budget and tax update workshop.

Lifelong Learning events will continue through the year, as they give employees an invaluable opportunity to keep their knowledge current and upgrade their softer skills. Coming up in the following weeks are sessions on office etiquette, emotional intelligence, and risks and ethics. In addition, a workshop on compliance with changes in legislation is lined up for September.

We also showcase our continuing Alumni programme, a very special initiative whose success rests on the generosity of volunteers willing to give up their time to guide and mentor those who are at an age when career uncertainty is weighing heavily on their young minds, with decisions made today affecting their future lives on every level. Our Alumni are doing a sterling job of influencing tomorrow's leaders and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication.

This issue also showcases the impact of our TVET work-based experience programme, which places college students in certain disciplines in employment that enables them to complete their national diplomas. Without employer partners such as J&R Accountants - featured here - this programme would not be possible. We hope the stories in this edition warm your heart amid the winter chill.

The Fasset Facts team will be back in spring to bring you more on the tremendous skills development work unfolding in the finance and accounting services sector.

Zandile Skosana

Marketing and Communications Manager


We are now well into the 2017/2018 year and, with the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training that the Seta licence has been extended to end-March 2020, we can look forward to truly bedding down our #LastingLegacy strategy to ensure that it achieves maximum impact in changing the lives of the people of our sector.

The welcome news came after a period of great uncertainty in the Seta environment, which, naturally, left many unsettled and wondering what the future would hold post-April 2018.

The decision frees us to concentrate on our core business of upskilling individuals to enhance the professionalism of the sector for the good of all participants. It also gives us the opportunity to make the new initiatives introduced midway through the 2016/2017 financial year really count.

This change in strategy was deemed necessary to re-channel our resources into projects more in line with ministerial imperatives for the country's growth and prosperity. Our focus is now strongly on supporting individuals with workplace-based opportunities , as opposed to assisting them to become workplace ready, and on academic support that helps learners to complete their qualifications or obtain professional body designations.

Understandably, the shift in strategy focus delayed the process of allocating grants and of procurement of delivery partners to implement some of our skills development interventions. We thank your stakeholders for tolerating the disruptions and understanding that the changes would be better for the sector as a whole in the long run.

The new initiatives will start to bear fruit soon and will make for an extremely busy and, we're confident, a productive, successful year for the Seta.

To all our employers, learners, Professional Bodies, providers and other partners in skills development, we assure you of our best service at all times. And we look forward to building on the sound relationships forged over many years that have allowed us, working together, to make a real impact on the transformation and professionalisation of our crucial sector.

Lesego Lebuso

Acting Chief Executive Officer


J&R Accountants of Polokwane bills itself as 'your first step to accounting solutions', but it is far more than that. For seven young TVET students, it is the first step on their career journey and one that they are definitely not taking for granted.

These 'magnificent seven' have been plucked from TVET colleges in and around Polokwane and placed in the thick of the accounting profession in a once-in-a-lifetime internship facilitated through Fasset's TVET Workplace-Based Experience (WBE) programme.

They are three months into an 18-month journey that will equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to complete their national diplomas and step confidently into a permanent professional position.

And, apart from the desk-based experience, J&R is also providing the eager youngsters with driving lessons so that, at the end of the programme, they are not only qualified, but licensed to steer their careers to great heights.

Jabu Mahlathi, the J in J&R Accountants, takes charge of all learner recruitment, support and development, and says this WBE is a win-win intervention. 'Some of the interns have been unemployed for years and have been struggling to acquire the skills needed in our industry,' he says. 'We're assisting them, which, in turn, is supporting the underdeveloped communities of Limpopo.

'At the same time, young people always bring new ideas and innovations on board, and the productivity of our company has increased drastically through the contribution of this fresh talent.'

Intern Thobejane Hani says he is using the tertiary knowledge he acquired, while honing his communication, interpersonal, time management, problem-solving and leadership skills. 'I am extremely grateful to be here and feel I am developing very well in the accounting field,' he says.

'I now have a better understanding of how things are done in an accounting firm and am learning how to conduct myself in such an environment,' says Selala Rocki. For Mankuru Phillipos, the internship has been a gateway to personal development and a chance to learn how to handle situations and challenges professionally. Ramokoto Isaac feels he is becoming more productive for the experience and a better team player.

'At the end of the programme,' says Mathebula Liver, 'I think I will be fully developed and matured in the commerce field.'

The WBE initiative adds considerable value to the sector's skills development efforts, stresses Jabu. 'Even university graduates lack soft skills such as communications and use of the internet. There is no better place to learn these than in the workplace.'

And there is no better place for a company to assess the employability of potential recruits than in its own workplace. Now that's a true win-win proposition.


When it comes to figures, the figures speak for themselves.

Fasset's annual budget and tax update seminar is, year after year, one of the most sought-after and subscribed of our lifelong learning events. This year, it attracted almost 7 000 delegates to 36 venues across the nine provinces.

The sessions, delivered by Probeta, addressed the uncertainty about the future of trusts, unpacking the new Section 7C, which deals with interest free/interest below the official rate loans to trusts by related parties. The complex Section 11(k), which deals with retirement fund contributions, was also on the agenda.

'Practitioners should have a good understanding of these sections to assist their clients in making the best decisions for their future,' says Probeta's Lynette Badenhorst. 'We believe that everyone who attended the seminars found them of value and left with a better understanding of the topics.

This was certainly true for Fasset seminar regular, Kate Mofokeng, a tax assistant at Triton Associates, whose daily duties include preparation of tax returns, efiling and client liaison. 'There is always a need to stay up to date on changes in areas of specialisation,' she says. 'Taxation in South Africa has become a minefield, to the extent that even a basic level of tax knowledge is hard to maintain. I wanted to build on my basic understanding of the various tax types and of what is needed to be tax compliant at all times.

'By attending seminars such as this one, I am able to perform better in the workplace and this allows my managers to recognise the effectiveness and efficiency I bring to the job and, thus, the value I bring to the company.'

Kate also has her eye on the bigger picture. 'All this learning is preparation for promotional and advancement opportunities within or outside of the organisation.'

In her quest for holistic professional development, Kate has also attended a Fasset office etiquette seminar, which taught her the importance of offering a sympathetic comment to a colleague having a bad day, rather than becoming emotional; of not responding to the bad behaviour of others, and of having a complete grasp of the company's business ethics and procedures for dealing with infractions.

Kate may be an old hand at lifelong learning, but it was the first Fasset event for SARS investigator: enforcement, Mosenya Shai. She found it equally beneficial in adding value to her work as an investigator into contraventions of the Tax Administration Act.

She says the information on capital gains tax was particularly relevant, as she had not yet encountered this issue in her day-to-day activities.

'Workshops such as this really clarify aspects of tax affairs and help bookkeepers to advise their clients to make informed decisions on investments, assets and others areas of their financial affairs,' she explains.


The shady world of the shadow economy (SE) is alive and well and, although the global average is expected to drop from 22.5% to 21.39%, it is forecast that South Africa's SE will rise from the 23.39% of GDP in 2016 - R1 000bn - to 24.19% by 2025.

This is according to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which defines SE as 'the market-based production of and payment for legal goods and services that are deliberately concealed from public authorities'.

The prevalence of SE activity clearly throws up considerable practical and ethical issues for professional accountants around the world, and, on a more macro level, for both business and governments, the report notes.

But, says Faye Chua, head of business insights at ACCA, all is not lost: 'The SE presents an enormous challenge for society, but a huge potential opportunity for the profession to play an active role across the entire value chain from measurement and monitoring through to helping shadow firms and individuals manage their financial affairs and possibly make the transition from informal to formal,' she explains.

Pat Semenya, head of ACCA South Africa, adds: 'The overall size of the South African SE's share of GDP since 2011 has dropped - a positive sign that efforts to curb its impact have been implemented in recent years. However, the future trend is profoundly opposite.

'Despite increasing access to education and training via private sector provision, global inequality (whilst not increasing) and unemployment are still very high, showcasing the need for more effective strategies to tackle it.'

'Effective management of the SE requires action at all levels - government, cities, local communities and individuals,' concludes Faye.


Shadowy insights

  • In 2009, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concluded that half the world's workers (almost 1.8 billion people) were employed in the shadow economy. By 2020, it predicts the SE will employ two-thirds of the world's workers.
  • The SE is also known as System D, which comes from a slang phrase used in French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The D is for 'debrouillard', which refers to people who are resourceful and ingenious.
  • In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Robert Neuwirth stated that 'were System D a sovereign nation, it would be an economic superpower - the second largest economy in the world'.


The altruistic practice of 'paying it forward', popularised by Haley Joel Osment in the successful 2000 film, is an ideal to live by for all people across all industries. The finance and accounting services sector is no exception and Fasset has formalised the concept through its innovative Alumni programme.

The initiative is proving a runaway success, with more than 40 previous recipients of Fasset-funded interventions having volunteered to pay it forward at schools across the country, particularly in the more rural areas, sharing their experiences and advice with grade 9 to 12 learners. At the same time, they are planting the seed that a career in the world of figures delivers untold reward, job satisfaction and advancement opportunities. These accounting ambassadors also dedicate time to coaching or mentoring students, which includes tutoring them in maths and accounting.

Emily Maluleke is one of the special people who carries the Fasset Alumni badge with great pride. Emily was always a talented student, whose academic ability enabled her to skip grades at school and who sailed through her BCom in Financial Management studies. She was understandably disappointed to find that all of this was not enough to secure her a job.

Emily already had a natural tendency to help others and her sense of community spirit had seen her sharing her problem-solving skills with school classmates and fellow tertiary students to allow them, too, to conquer course challenges.

To this day, she continues to share and lead by example. 'I discuss with as many people as I can how I have achieved in spite of a very unsettled childhood. The Fasset Alumni programme has given me another outlet to do this and to impress upon youngsters that everyone can do what I have done and can have a successful career in accounting.'

Emily has presented her story and promoted the sector to audiences of more than 700 matrics at a time, and will often devote a whole day to an event to ensure that she is available to each and every student clamouring for information. 'Youngsters make poor career choices because of lack of information,' she stresses. 'Imparting information is the best gift one can give another person.'

The Alumni initiative has also confirmed Emily's love for teaching and she plans to follow her heart into this profession in the near future. There is no doubt that she will be a positive, empowering influence in the classroom, not to mention a very vocal ambassador for the finance and accounting sector where she has made her initial mark.


Fasset's career portal, which constituted an ambitious and exciting part of the 2016/2017 marketing mix, is hitting the mark with youngsters seeking career advice, professionals on the way up and employers seeking to recruit or advertise positions.

It is arguably among the most comprehensive portals of its kind launched in the Seta landscape and is a first for the finance and accounting services sector.

Says marketing and communications manager, Zandile Skosana: 'It has something for everyone. Besides providing great information for those undecided about their career choice, it brings in the roles of parents and educators in the career choice process and caters for employers shopping for new talent.'

The site - www.fassetcareers.co.za - went live in September 2016 and has, to date, attracted almost 3 000 visitors. Some 96 employers have registered and 365 youngsters seeking employment have created a resume using the site's resume builder. That's an impressive total of more than 29 000 sessions by almost 21 000 users.

A feature of the site that appears to have captured the imagination of those on their way into or on their way up in the profession is the #LastingLegacy gallery, which encourages visitors to upload a photograph of themselves accompanied by some words on their status, studies or hopes for the future under the 'You are the next big thing' banner. To date, 39 visitors have shared their #LastingLegacy.

Among them are Sandile Mkhize, who shares his story of having failed matric twice before he rediscovered himself, passing matric and enrolling for a financial management programme, from which he emerged with commendable grades and the goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

Geraldine Makube believes her ethics, respect for other people's views, and sound listening and teamwork skills will make her an asset to the industry, while Mbalenhle Malishi states that 'my today is my tomorrow's stepping stone' and she aspires to be a Company Secretary in the future.

The last visitor word goes to Thabo Lesame, whose post shows that he definitely has grasped the spirit of creating a lasting legacy. 'I am a certified technical accountant who is very passionate about accounting and this can be seen in the high quality of work I put out every day,' he writes. 'I aspire to help SMEs to improve their reporting and internal control system so that they can be viable and profitable.'

'The individuals showcased in the #LastingLegacy gallery possess many of the skills and attitudes that prospective employers are seeking,' says Zandile. 'For companies in our sector, the portal is well worth a regular visit.'


#FeesMustFall protests may be less visible, but that does not mean that the movement has lost momentum. The legacy of suppression leaves in its wake a pool of youth, desperate for education, but unable to fund their needs. While the movement is demanding free education, the viability of this as a solution has been drawn into question.

As an alternative solution, bursaries are promoted. While these programmes may not provide a solution for the masses, they do provide relief for some - and the more bursary programmes that exist, the more people will be given the opportunity to build their skills and develop a sustainable career path. One such programme is The Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority's (Fasset) Bursary Scheme.

This scheme comprises 10 programmes, funding 1 041 students, with a total fund of R196 511 670.20. The scheme entails securing the services of one or more suitably qualified Bursary Management Agents from Public Universities and Universities of Technology (as listed by the Department of Higher Education and Training - DHET), Private Bursary Management Agencies and/or Professional Bodies to manage the bursary fund on Fasset's behalf.

Amos Nokoane, Acting Projects Manager at Fasset, confirms that the scheme was founded to give candidates a helping hand in achieving their learning and development goals. "The bursary is aimed at: African Black candidates in all provinces; Coloured candidates in the Western and Northern Cape; and learners with disabilities of any race, who qualify. These bursaries are offered with respect to qualifications which fall into one of the top ten identified scarce skills, as identified in Fasset's Sector Skills Plan (SSP)."

With a noted under-representation of African Black and Coloured people, particularly in the Western and Northern Cape provinces, Fasset has honed in on these areas for additional support. This means that Coloured learners in the Western and Northern Cape provinces can now access Fasset's bursary schemes, can enter into learnerships and internships, and can also benefit in the learner lifelong learning interventions. Resultantly, Western Cape employers also benefit, as they can now fully utilise the grants available to them.

"This scheme was established in order to assist the 'missing middle' LSM students, who come from a family earning a combined household salary of between R123 000 and R350 000 per annum." With the aim to address the national crisis highlighted by the #FeesMustFall movement beneficiaries of this Bursary Scheme, which was launched in 2017 and is currently in its first year of implementation. This project has been implemented at the University of Pretoria, University of Free State, University of Cape Town, developing a national footprint. Although it is in its initial phases, great successes have already been witnessed with a large number of otherwise unfunded learners receiving funding.

Considering the level of funding offered, candidates must show their eligibility to meet the criteria. "Candidates must show the required potential to succeed, while meeting the pre-set minimum academic criteria, as well as the coming from the 'missing middle' income group," concludes Nokoane. "Candidates must also progress from one academic year to another, or complete their qualification. The ultimate goal is to see candidates receiving their qualifications, with an 80 percent pass rate, and going on to build successful, fruitful careers."