Welcome from all of us at Fasset to this winter 'lockdown' edition of Facts, which features updates, and insights about our activities and plans for the future.

Our CEO, Ayanda Mafuleka, considers the 'new normal' as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. She opens up about the challenges that we, like most others, have been experiencing and explains how Fasset is going about doing things differently to ensure that our organisation remains sustainable.

In an insightful article, Mr Lyndwill Clarke from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) gives us all a financial literacy advice on how to protect one's financial health during the Coronavirus outbreak. From ways to cut back on spending, to protecting savings Clarke answers all the questions one might have.

A Fasset registered SMME, Lagab Financial Services, then details how Covid-19 has thrust them, and many small businesses, towards new digital ways of working. From this testimonial it is evident that the pandemic has 'forced' many to embrace technology, bringing us even closer to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Fasset's Amos Nokoane provides an update on the YES (Youth Employment Services) programme that targets tertiary education graduates and matriculants. The programme which started earlier this year had only just got underway when the lockdown was implemented.

Nokoane explains that Fasset continues engaging with those involved to meet the challenges as they arise. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said when launching the YES, 'there is much more we need to do to match the skills being produced in our institutions with the needs of our economy, both now and into the future."

Feedback from our 'Circle of Influence' event in Cape Town towards the end of last year provides fantastic business survivalist strategies. At the event the challenges facing the accounting and auditing industry in a digital economy were explored. Many of these are still entirely relevant considering Covid-19 has pushed us to rapidly adopt digital technology.

Finally, our story on 'Lockdown Learning' gives us a glimpse into the difficult times students are experiencing. But much can be learnt from their grit and determination.

We wish you all good health and every success as we jointly navigate these trying times. Stay safe!

Zandile Skosana
Marketing and Communications Manager


The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on all sectors of society. Businesses across all industries have had to navigate through new operational challenges and disruptions. At Fasset, most programmes have felt the impact in some way, and we need to think innovatively at how we still deliver on our skills development mandate in the financial and accounting services sector.

There have been understandable difficulties and delays in implementing and driving some of our skills development programmes. Historically, most of our skills development initiatives have been delivered through face-to-face and not online. The delivery mode of our programmes now has to change. The question we are faced with is; how do we find new ways, as dictated by Covid-19, to address our sectoral critical skills shortages?

One of the other challenges has been career awareness campaigns among learners at high school level. For obvious reasons it has been difficult to reach out to them during this time and will stay that way for some time. So, we're considering innovative solutions such as ways to mobilise the Life Orientation teachers, different online and media platforms to deliver our career guidance service.

As we grapple with how we deliver our programmes; our beneficiaries are also facing challenges. Being able to access tools of learning, such as laptops and data, in order to gain access to online learning. We have been engaging with our various stakeholders and our implementing agents to gauge the impact that Covid-19 has had on their programmes and how best they can continue to achieve set deliverables for our beneficiaries.

It is in our best interest to see learners continue with their training and learnerships; and bursary holders to continue with their studies.

We all needed to adapt to working remotely in order to ensure business continuity. ICT has become the focal point of many organisations and one of the things that we at Fasset have been fortunate with, is that the majority of our staff have been able to work remotely. If anything, this pandemic has highlighted the need for all of us to reduce our reliance on organisation's physical infrastructure.

The good news is that our sector of finance and accounting is very resilient and there have been some proactive measures from the sector already. Many businesses seem to have easily adapted to the new normal, embracing webinars, virtual trainings and virtual meetings.

This is new for everyone and I believe that a good leader will not always have all the answers but is willing to walk the unknown journey with his/her team until they reach the destination. This is a time when we need to put our heads together and share ideas on how we can ensure that as an organisation, we are sustainable, even post Covid-19 pandemic. As we are planning on opening our offices on the 1st July 2020, I'd like to pledge my commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our staff and all stakeholders that have dealings with Fasset. While observing the necessary protocols, we are still fully committed to bridging the skills gap within our sector.

Let the Fasset values shine through during this difficult time and I would request everyone to make an extra effort to deliver on our skills development agenda.

In closing, I quote the State Bank of India Chairman, Shri Rajnish Kumar, "It is in times of crisis that heroes are born."

Ayanda Mafuleka
Chief Executive Officer


It has become a major challenge for many businesses to keep their financial wheels turning during lockdown, due to reduced revenue and ongoing uncertainty about the global financial environment.

Fasset's 'Circle of Influence' events create a space where industry thought leaders and experts can collaborate to share how they see the future of education and skills development. The most recent 'Circle of Influence' event in Cape Town was held towards the end of last year but many of the insights are relevant even now amidst the global pandemic. Here we revisit some of the key takeaways from the keynote address by Abdullah Verachia - Global future strategist, disruptor, CEO, Senior faculty member...

As the fourth Industrial Revolution continues to drive change in our workplaces globally, it is essential that we continue to develop leaders with skills that will enable success in that future. The rate of change has been further fast-tracked by Covid-19 and lockdown.

Verachia explained that to respond adequately and remain relevant in the new economy the innovation ambition matrix proposes that 70% of time and effort should be spent on maintaining existing products and services for existing customers. However, in our changing world 20% of time and effort must be spent on developing new products, services and skills. Finally, 10% of time and effort must be spent on developments that really make a marked difference.

The 'Circle of Influence' discussion then turned to; how do we make sure that we participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution- leveraging it and not becoming "victims" of the changes it brings?

Verachia suggested that firstly, we must understand the changes that are happening in the world we live in and secondly, we must find ways to address the implications.

The five major implications of 4IR are:
  1. Shifting human behaviours; as the world changes, so too does our cognitive wiring and consequential behaviour.
  2. Rising importance of softer skills. The softer skills that will be required, such as critical thinking, agility, curiosity and initiative are often overlooked.
  3. Adapting and disrupting to stay relevant. The need to continuously think differently, challenge the status quo and question the norm is imperative for success in a changing world.
  4. The need for strategic leadership. Leadership in the digital age requires focussing on the environment, strategy, organisation and leadership.
  5. Human connection as a necessity. We can go to the best institutions globally but that can never replace the skills acquired from everyday life and engagement.
The panel discussion at the 'Circle of Influence' event in Cape Town around opportunities in a digital economy identified the need for continuous upskilling. As businesses change it is possible for people who would be retrenched to be reskilled. Often this merely requires small skill enhancements.

It also emerged that businesses in the accounting and auditing industry will benefit tremendously from the input, influence and buy-in of their young professionals, who are digital natives. Companies such as Deloitte have appointed shadow boards, made up of young people. These have proved beneficial, generating innovative ideas and insights that would have been overlooked. The impending disruptions in the accounting and auditing industry are well known, as such Fasset's 'Circle of Influence' event agreed that we should be re-inventing our role as professionals in a way that leverages technology to our advantage.

Youth Employment Service programme update

Fasset's Youth Employment Service (YES) programme gives tertiary education graduates and matriculants the invaluable opportunity to gain work experience by being placed with Fasset-registered employers nationally, for a minimum of 12 months. This important programme is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's YES initiative launched in 2018.

Fasset Projects Manager, Amos Nokoane says the two groups that Fasset identified as those that will benefit most from the support to encourage growth in employment in the financial and accounting services sector are; HET (University & University of Technology) graduates and NSC matriculants.

Nokoane explains the major programme benefit is two-fold, "The programme helps Fasset to ensure that the students we are funding gain important work skills in a learning environment, while being paid a stipend. Also, the stipend is paid by Fasset so this helps the employers to reduce their employee costs."

Nokoane adds, "We specifically targeted small businesses to host the youth, so as to ensure they benefit from Fasset support and funding."

Fasset started the process of recruiting youth and approaching financial and accounting service providers to host the young people in their companies at the beginning of this year. But by March the coronavirus pandemic was in full force and lockdown was implemented in South Africa.

This had a massive impact on Fasset's YES programme, affecting it at every level according to Nokoane. He says, "Some youngsters had already been recruited but their work had not yet been implemented. Others had started the programme but then had to delay their continuation. The learners have faced a new set of challenges such as network issues and high data costs, so we've been in constant contact with the learners to try and work around that. Fasset has also had a session with employers about how they have been impacted by the lockdown. While some employers could open their offices on level 4, others were trying to meet with the learners virtually."

There are 144 HET graduates and 151 matriculants across the country that are enrolled in Fasset's inaugural YES programme this year.

Fasset plans to run the same programme in 2020/21 and will look to place even more graduates within businesses. Nokoane explains, "With this being the first year, some employers were reluctant to commit to taking a bigger number of graduates and matriculants at the beginning of the year, before they could determine what their staffing needs would be."

"It is very difficult to determine what the success of the programme will be this year as we are facing unprecedented challenges. We will, however, continue engaging with graduates, matriculants, and employers to try to meet the challenges as they arise. Fasset is committed as a Seta to make every effort to create employment and training opportunities," concludes Nokoane.


Just how should we navigate the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis. Mr Lyndwill Clarke, who heads up the Consumer Education Department at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) shares invaluable information below.

Q: During the uncertain times resulting from Covid-19, what are some of the practical steps South Africans can take to better manage their money?

A: Consumers should review and adjust their budgets; cut unnecessary expenses and only buy things they need. Making a shopping list of items needed and sticking to it, is the one way of doing it.

During your personal budget review, it is vital that you inform your creditors about a change in your financial situation. Your debit orders will continue to be deducted if this is not done and you might end up being negatively listed. By talking to your creditors, you can negotiate and arrange for lower monthly payments or even debt relief if you qualify for it.

If you have any personal of business financial products, now is a good time to read and review your policy contract again to make sure your long- and short-term needs are still covered. Especially check to see if you are covered for any pandemics.

One should also look at cancelling or reducing any unnecessary subscriptions, especially on cellphones. Scout around for cheaper cellphone agreements and internet subscriptions. If recently unemployed, notify your network service providers about the loss of income. You can also find out from service providers whether you can arrange for lower contract fees and data bundle services.

Always remember to read the fine prints in your multi-year contracts before approaching your service providers. Service providers may impose large penalty fees against consumers for breaching their contracts or not adhering to the terms and conditions of the contract.

Restaurants are re-opening, but consumers will be wise to cut back on your luxurious lifestyle such as dining out, entertainment and expensive hobbies. This will help curb spending. Certain habits such as buying coffee before work may seem like a small expense, but it adds up to a substantial amount per month.

We all want the best for our children, but if you are struggling to pay their school fees, you could apply to the School Governing Body for conditional, partial or full exemption from paying school fees.

This pandemic and the lockdown measures has also led to unemployment and loss of income for many people in the country. Should it become necessary, consumers can investigate how to claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). More information on this can be found at :

Q: What tips would you give to consumers during Covid-19?

A: Ensure that you understand any new financial product(s) related to COVID-19 being marketed and sold, and whether these suits your actual needs. Find out if any additional actions, like taking a blood test, are required for the new product and how this will be managed in the lockdown period.

Many banks have announced a debt-relief package on loans to persons and businesses during the national state of disaster. Contact your bank to discuss whether you qualify for a so-called "bank holiday" package.

Check with your bank or credit provider if you have a credit insurance policy and see what it covers. It may cover you if you stop earning an income from your employer, become unemployed or if you are retrenched. You might not have to apply for debt-relief if your credit insurance policy covers your debt for a period.

Avoid illegal credit providers or money lenders who offer credit without authorisation from the National Credit Regulator (NCR). Illegal money lenders are also known as "mashonisa" and they charge consumers extremely high interest rates. In some instances, loan sharks' resort to violence and intimidation when collecting outstanding debts.

Consumers should also contact the NCR to verify whether the institution is a registered credit provider, in line with the National Credit Act. But one can also spot an illegal money lender if they don't have an NCR license or require items of security such as a person's identity document, bank card or driver's license. This is illegal and should be reported to the NCR or SAPS immediately.

Q: What is the best way to safeguard savings from the turbulent times ahead?

A: Avoid exhausting all your emergency funds in the lockdown period. Be aware of what your needs and wants are during this time and only purchase what is essential. Do not panic buy!

Do not make rash investment decisions. Speak to or contact your financial advisor or an authorised financial services provider, before making any decisions about your savings, investments and insurance.

People should never gamble when it comes to an investment and shouldn't follow hunches or invest money in the "unknown". It is important to do one's research when making an investment decision, ensuring the media is not the only place they get their information. Gaining a sound understanding will require work and time on one's part but avoiding this research will cost dearly in the long run.

If you belong to a Retirement Fund, look out for communications from the Board of your fund or the Fund administrator regarding developments and risk management strategies with respect to COVID-19. Be sure that you understand all the risks that go along with resigning or taking early retirement to access your retirement benefits.

Q: Are there growing trends in financial services industry that consumers should be aware of as a result of the pandemic?

A: The current pandemic and the associated financial concerns being experienced by so many South Africans has offered the opportunity to unscrupulous criminals who continually adjust their tactics to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Several pyramid schemes and scams have surfaced or are resurfacing during the pandemic, taking advantage of those who need an income.

Remember that a pyramid scheme is illegal and is not an investment or a genuine business opportunity as there are no products bought or sold, so there is no knowledge of where the money is going to. The money is raised through recruiting other people into the scheme and those that joined the scheme earlier gets paid from the money of later joiners.

The pyramid usually falls apart when it becomes impossible to get new people to join the scheme and the new joiners start losing their money.

So be on the lookout for scamsters that promised you "a lot of money" in a "short space of time" if you "recruit" more people to the scheme. There is the risk of losing your money as there is hardly any recourse.

The golden rule - if it sounds to good to be true it most likely is to good to be true.

For more information on any of the above: Call: 0800 20 (FSCA)3722
Email: CED.Consumer@fsca.co.za OR info@fsca.co.za
Website: https://www.fscamymoney.co.za/

COVID-19 fast tracks 4IR adaptation for a Fasset registered SMME

One immediate consequence of Covid-19 has been the rapid adoption of digital technology. This has been driven by necessity; after the global pandemic forced many countries into lock down. In trying to keep the economy functioning, while still curbing the spread of the virus it would seem that South Africa has been catapulted towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Lagab Financial Services, a finance and accounting solutions and training provider registered under Fasset, is just one company in sector that has had to relook their way of working.

Founder and Chairperson of Lagab Financial Services, Kgotso Mohlala says, "With just three days warning before entering lockdown we didn't have remote access to our server. At level 5 we couldn't access the premises, but since level 4 we have worked on a 50% rotational basis. While we had been looking into further digitisation before the pandemic, this has just forced our hand. Although it is going to be a costly exercise, we are looking at remote access to our servers. We're excited about going with this trend."

Mohlala adds that there will be other benefits of adopting this model for example having less employees at their premises would reduce running costs. It would also reduce employees travel costs, so he believes it is a win-win situation in the long run.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that the pandemic has removed some of the country's initial stumbling blocks to digital transformation, such as business buy-in and business and government policies. Hosney Masetlwa CEO of Lagab Financial Services agrees, "4IR is upon us, we need to implement changes and quickly. These changes that are being 'forced' upon us and other companies will stay, they are ultimately for the better."

Masetlwa believes finance and accounting services have a key role to play at this time, "We can contribute to aligning the economy and assist government in collecting taxes. Essentially our sector is the link between revenue and taxpayers. We're happy to contribute to the economy and make a living, given the current circumstances."

Lockdown Learning

University students across the globe have also had their lives turned upside down by the Corona virus pandemic and ensuing lockdown. They've had to adapt to the rapid changes taking place in the academic system. We spoke to three Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting learners about how this has affected their studies and how they are coping with lockdown learning.

Azukwa Mavuso, who is a final year student at the University of Fort Hare admits that she is struggling to cope with this new way of learning. She says she initially struggled to access material online without having data, but the University has now agreed to assist with data so that students can access the required material.

Mavuso says learning away from University has it's unique set of challenges, "My home is not really a conducive environment for studying because I'm the eldest sister to my siblings. Most of the time, I must look after them and do all the chores at home before I can focus on my studies. It is also hard to do self-studying when you are used to being lectured in a lecture hall and have never been an independent student before."

First year Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting student Sinazo Salman shares Mavuso's concerns about her new learning environment, "I live in Gompo Township in East London and the noise levels have been an adjustment; from kids playing in the streets, to 'gusheshes' (sports cars) spinning and taxi hooters going." But Salman says she has decided to make the most of what she has. She explains, "There are SI leaders who have been using the WhatsApp group platform to help us. There are slides on the digital learning platform Blackboard that guide me. There are past exams papers that I work through. I have also drawn up a plan that accommodates my house chores, my son and schoolwork. There are more distractions during the day than in the evening, so I use that to my advantage. I focus on my schoolwork at night. This has been helping and I am now catching up on all my modules. At the end of the day it is up to me to save my academic year."

Thabiso Klei, a second-year student who lives in Mount Frere in rural Eastern Cape says he is also trying to remain focused despite the challenges that come with rural life. He says, "It is difficult for me to align my studies with my chores. I must wake up as early as possible in the morning to do my given duties at home before my studies. But I must commend the support I've been receiving from my institution. I'm the type of person who is open to change and this crisis has allowed me to find new ways of studying. Although they may not be efficient, I'm trying to keep progressing."