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Feb 21 2013 16:06 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Recruiting and training chartered accountants could help ease service delivery problems, Auditor General Terence Nombembe said on Thursday.

"There is a shortage of chartered accountants. The public sector is beset by [a] skills shortage," Nombembe said in a statement.

"Can government attract, afford and retain the business skills it requires? It most certainly can.... Chartered accountants are key to service delivery."

He said other provinces should emulate the KwaZulu-Natal government's Thuthuka Bursary Fund, which recruits talented students and gives them the opportunity to become chartered accountants.

KwaZulu-Natal's finance MEC Ina Cronje was spearheading a "great example" of how municipalities could upskill themselves through private-public sector projects, said Nombembe.

"Recruiting talented, but deserving students from far-flung municipalities and easing them through the bursary programme will produce a number of accountants in rural KwaZulu-Natal every year.

"This will make an incredible difference to the outlying rural communities."

The challenge was to ensure that other provinces, departments and parastatals did the same thing, "and that they do it quickly."

"Let us stop focusing on who to blame for our woes and get on with their resolution [Thuthuka]. The answers lie within our grasp. Our country deserves this," said Nombembe.

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