SAICA Bursaries

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The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants offers comprehensive bursaries to promising students looking to study towards qualifications in accountancy.

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (known as SAICA for short) is South Africa’s main accountancy body, and is tasked with regulation and administration surrounding the auditing and accounting professions within the country. With over 36 000 registered members, the institute offers support services and professional advice to registered chartered accountants, and provides accreditation to its members that serves as a reference for their professional standing. The SAICA is also a member of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA), enabling it to offer international services and accreditation. Accountants must have completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting or an equivalent CA degree at an accredited tertiary institution, as well as a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) to become fully-fledged SAICA members.

The history of the SAICA can be traced back to the late nineteenth century, and the establishment of South Africa’s first professional institute for accountants. Known as the Institute of Accountants and Auditors, this institute was established in Johannesburg in 1894, and was joined shortly thereafter by the Institute of Accountants in Natal. Various other provincial institutes followed, and by a combined effort, the first articles of clerkship were drafted in 1905, allowing for greater standardisation in the industry. The first journal was published in 1909, promoting communication and collaboration between members.

The next few decades saw the formation of many more accounting societies in various parts of the country, and by 1920, a clear need had arisen to establish a national accounting body. To this end, the South African Accounting Societies’ General Examining Board was established in 1921 to administrate examination processes for candidate accountants on behalf of the various societies. Another important step was taken in 1927, when the Chartered Accountants Designation (Private) Act was passed by parliament, restricting the use of the CA(SA) professional designation to members of the provincial accounting societies only.

In 1945, the Joint Council of the Societies of Chartered Accountants (SA) was formed to provide a forum in which cooperation between the societies could be facilitated further. In 1950, all teaching and examining of accountancy was given over to the universities, with exception of the qualifying examination, which was still set and administered by the professional board. In 1951, the first formal CTA examinations were held accordingly.

In 1966, the National Council of Chartered Accountants was formed, and finally, in 1980, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants came into being, fully unifying the various societies and establishing a central accounting authority for the nation. Together with the Chambers of Commerce and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the SAICA formed the Accounting Practices Board to institute statements of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, which continue to inform the profession today.

SAICA Bursary Program Overview

The SAICA bursary program operates under the name of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund. This name, a Zulu word meaning ‘to develop’, encapsulates the intentions of the bursary program to enable the development of skills in the accounting sector and create opportunities for promising students to access the education and training they need to become fully qualified chartered accountants.

Viewed as an investment into South Africa’s financial industry, as well as the country’s economy as a whole, the Fund’s main purpose is to create a sustainable pipeline of talent that can continue to supply the industry with skilled accountants for years to come, while also promoting diversity and equality within the accounting field by extending its bursaries to candidates from underprivileged or disadvantaged backgrounds.

This emphasis on transformation is an important part of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund’s approach, as well as that of the SAICA as a whole. The Thuthuka Bursary Fund runs on generous donations made by some of South Africa’s most prominent financial business and accounting firms, while also receiving governmental grants as a public benefit organisation as well as private donations from individuals.

On average between 250 and 300 bursaries are awarded each year to exceptional candidates from all over South Africa. In addition to the bursary program, the SAICA also runs mathematics skills camps for high school students throughout the country, with a view to establishing the foundations for further education and training at an early stage.

In order to qualify for a Thuthuka bursary, the candidate must be an African or Coloured citizen of South Africa, and must be a Grade 12 student who has applied or is applying to study towards a qualification in chartered accountancy at a recognised tertiary institution. These include the University of Johannesburg, University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, University of Pretoria, University of the Free State, University of Witwatersrand, and North-West University.

Prospective candidates must show high academic standing in Mathematics specifically, with a minimum of 60% in this subject. Candidates must also register for and write the National Benchmark Test (NBT) to determine their aptitude for their intended study program, and must also show demonstrated financial need as assessed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) means test.

Bursary Benefits

Thuthuka bursaries cover all tuition, administration, and examination fees, as well as life skills training, academic support programs, and mentorship through the university at which the candidate is enrolled. Accommodation and meals at a university residence are also covered, as are any necessary textbooks, stationery or other equipment needed for the study program. An allowance is also given for day-to-day living expenses.

Qualifications Covered

As the SAICA is focused specifically on chartered accountancy, Thuthuka bursaries are only offered to cover Bachelor of Commerce degrees majoring in Accounting.

Application Process

The application form for the Thuthuka bursaries can be obtained from the SAICA website, and should be printed, filled out, and submitted along with supporting documentation such as ID copies, academic records, and a motivation letter, to Thuthuka Bursary Fund, P.O. Box 59875, Kengray, 2100.

The closing date for applications is the end of April each year.

SAICA now has well over 29000 members that operate as chartered accountants and auditors.


Application Due Date
30 April 2018


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