Chairperson, I am going to be brief. The Auditing Profession Act that was passed in 2005 provides for a legal framework for the auditing profession, including the formation of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.
Now, if one wanted to be an auditor, until now one had to get articled and write a public practice exam. The board, in consultation with other professionals and the industry, has decided that instead of an exam there is a need for a training programme. This is because what the exam essentially does at the moment is to test your general competence and skills as a chartered accountant, and not the specific competencies of an auditor. So, it was decided by a large degree of consensus, if not altogether by consensus, that we should have an auditing development programme instead.
The board brought its programme to the committee and we all, for once - this might stun you, Chairperson - agreed on the Bill. All we did was amend it here and there where the National Treasury - note, Minister - forgot to put "registered" before "auditor". So, you owe us a lot in our profound amendment of the Bill!
May I add, for those of you who do not know - and you should know this - that we are number one in the world when it comes to standards for auditing. Can we give ourselves a big round of applause please? [Laughter.] [Applause.]
I also want to say, as we pass this Bill, that all the Bill does is to update with the replacement of the exam by the programme. The Companies Act has also been updated.
However, we noticed to our alarm that, 21 years later, only 8% of auditors are African and only 23% are women. So, in a report to Parliament we expressed our concern and also mentioned that there was a need to find new and innovative ways of making the auditing profession more demographically representative. We have called on the National Treasury, the board and other professional organisations, universities and other institutions of higher learning, Parliament, no less, and whoever else is relevant, to ensure that this is changed over time.
I thank everybody, including the DA and the EFF, for co-operating on this Bill and we look forward to the same co-operation on the Banks Amendment Bill, which is before us next week. Thank you, indeed.
There was no debate.
Declarations of vote: