The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has rejected social activist Yusuf Abramjee’s claim that it is unfairly discriminating against “South African Indians” in their funding strategy.
This, after Abramjee took to Twitter this afternoon to challenge SAICA’s Thuthuka Fund, unambiguously described as “a programme that is available solely to African and Coloured students who dream of becoming chartered accountants”.
In response, the institute explained the fund was set up as a vehicle to assist with the transformation objectives of the profession. The aim of the fund is “for membership to ultimately reflect the country’s population demographics.”
SAICA’s executive director of nation-building Chantyl Mulder, told The Citizen they would ideally like to reach a stage where “the current membership is reflective of both the white and Indian population demographics”.
Dissatisfied with this response, Abramjee said he will be referring the matter to the South African Human Rights Commissiom (SAHRC) as he believes SAICA’s decision is “discriminatory and unconstitutional”.
Mulder reiterated the imbalances within the accountancy profession are not a new issue, and SAICA has previously gone on record with steps taken to redress shortage in certain race groups.
“We have always only funded African and Coloured students to correct this imbalance. Population demographics: African 80%; Indian 2%; Coloured 9%; White 9%.
“SAICA membership demographics (are) African 12%; Indian 11%; coloured 4%; Whites 73%. This is testimony to what we need to do,” Mulder explained.
SAICA is, however, not completely exluding other races. “There is funding through the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid programme (ISFAP). This pilot was started in 2017 and run by SAICA for the so called missing middle students. This is for all races,” Mulder wrote.
Mulder added in an emailed response: “With regards to your additional question, please note that this matter has already been before the Human Rights Commission and was found in our favour.”