What does it take to be a future leader? According to the judging panel who selected the top 30 university students who attended the recent South African Institute of Chartered Accountant’s annual Student Leadership Summit (SLS), responsible leaders need to have the perfect mix of insight, foresight, research and innovation to create solutions that will make a real and positive impact on society. This is precisely what Klerksdorp’s Thsireletso Bogastu, a 19 year old student from the University of the Free State (UFS), demonstrated when she clenched the first place spot for her insightful and solution-driven essay which revealed how, as a budding future chartered accountant (CA[SA]), she plans to use her acquired academic and leadership skills to help close South Africa’s wide wealth gap.
One SAICA’s sole objectives is that of “responsible leadership”. This is a responsibility that, SAICA believes, does not only begin when someone holds a high position, but lies within each and every citizen of this country
For this reason, SAICA takes great care in instilling the values of responsible leadership in all of those who study towards becoming a CA(SA). It is against this backdrop that the institution created SLS nine years ago.
What is SLS?
Through SLS, SAICA seeks to encourage chartered accountancy students to be responsible leaders by applying their minds to issues of national and professional importance and think about how, as young professionals, they can use their skills to help solve these issues and ensure that the challenges flagged in the NDP as stumbling blocks for the country’s developmental are overcome. This year, students were tasked to apply their minds to find solutions for:
- South Africa’s widening wealth gap;
- Selling South Africa as a viable investment destination to foreigners after our recent downgrade to junk status; and
- How the chartered accountancy profession needs to evolve to stay relevant as the fourth industrial revolution (the technology revolution) changes the world of work.
Judges blown away by the aspiring CAs(SA)’s innovative solutions
Invited to attend a prestigious leadership summit (held from 5 to 7 October), the top 30 students first agenda item was to network, interact and engage with some of SA’s top business leaders at an exclusive SLS business leader networking function and prize-giving, sponsored by MMI. It was here that the three winners of SLS 2017 were announced with Tshireletso Bogatsu from UFS taking the top spot.
“As in previous years, the calibre of entry for the 2017 SLS essay competition was of a very high standard,” says Teboho Moephudi, competition judge and project director for SAICA’s university projects including SLS. “As judges, we struggled to select which of the hundreds of entries received would win their spot in the top 30. However, when it came to the winner, our pick was unanimous. Tshireletso’s thought leadership piece was so solution driven and well-thought out that we all knew we’d found our winner upon reading her essay.”
“Similarly, the competition’s two runners-up – Duane Rensburg (Nelson Mandela University) and Bukani Mbutho (University of Cape Town) –tackled the topics of SA’s junk status and the future relevancy of the CA(SA) profession with a high level of foresight, research and innovation.” (You can read the three winning essays here)
Dr Terence Nombembe, SAICA CEO, added his congratulations to the top 30 students with these words: “Your thoughts epitomise the concepts that are core to SAICA’s values and illustrate that there are young people in this country who embrace the qualities of responsible leadership and are trustworthy beacons of hope for tomorrow. I urge you to remember that to accomplish great things it is not enough for you to only dream; you must act. I look forward to watching how each of you goes out and changes the world and express my congratulations on this achievement.”
While the winners walked away with a mix of cash prizes, iPads and Mac Books as well as an excel course sponsored by Excel Academy, all who attended agree that these prizes paled in comparison with the invaluable and intensive soft-skills training and cognitive leadership sessions (sponsored by Deloitte) that the top 30 were exposed to during course of the three-day summit.
The full list of the 2017 Top 30 Student Leadership Summit finalists (in alphabetical order):
- Bukani Mbutho – University of Cape Town: 3rd place
- Denzel Makombe – Rhodes University
- Duane Rensburg – Nelson Mandela University: 2nd place
- Hamish McCready – University of Cape Town
- Hikensile Shibambo – University of Cape Town
- Justin Esau – University of Johannesburg
- Karabo Dinyake – University of Limpopo
- Lesedi Bopape – University of Limpopo
- Letty Seshoka – Rhodes University
- Litha Thabo Thwala – University of Johannesburg
- Lulu Charlotte Molemong – University of the Western Cape
- Lungelo Ngobese – Stellenbosch University
- Motsei Magome – North-West University
- Mulanga Mulaudzi – UNISA
- Natasha Rosey – University of Johannesburg
- Raees Jogee – University of Pretoria
- Refilwe Poleng – University of the Witwatersrand
- Reneiloe Madi – University of Johannesburg
- Rumbi Nyamuda – University of Cape Town
- Sanelisiwe Vundla – University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
- Sarah Morgan – Nelson Mandela University
- Stephen Govender – University of Johannesburg
- Thapelo Kolotsi – University of Cape Town
- Thlogi Dube – University of Johannesburg
- Tshegofatso Pheeha – University of Limpopo
- Tshifhiwa Munzhelele – University of Cape Town
- Tshireletso Bogatsu – University of the Free State: 1st Place
- Tshwarelo Radinne – University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
- Vunene Khosa – University of the Free State
- Yanga Jekubeni – Stellenbosch University