Cape Town - The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour, Lumka Yengeni, questions the preponderance of white males in the financial sector.
Although the sector is still dominated by white men "for historical reasons", progress is certainly being made, said Cheryl James, chief executive of the training authority for the Seta for Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and other Financial Services (Fasset).
James emphasised that apprenticeships are awarded only to previously disadvantaged beneficiaries. She says transformation is indeed progressing in the financial sector, but at a slow pace because the training period the Seta deals with extends from seven to 10 years.
James brought the committee's attention to the fact that membership of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) numbered 23 000 ten years ago, and fewer than 100 were black men.
Saica's most recent membership figures indicate that of the 24 000 members about 2 000 are black men ("black" here refers to black Africans and does not include coloured or Indian persons).
Setas form part of government's retraining plan to prevent summary retrenchments during the recession.
The Setas' contribution is not compulsory. In Fasset's case there have so far been no reported retrenchments in the financial sector. Furthermore, Fasset has no unallocated funds, James pointed out.
Fasset has received revenue income of R197.2m from levies.
The income that the 23 Setas received from levies during the 2008/09 financial year increased across the board. The Education, Training and Development Practitioners (ETDP) Seta, for example, spent R21m on training in 2001. In 2009 it spent R152m.
Nombulelo Nxesi, the chief executive of the ETDP, said the sector had so far not been affected by retrenchments. She was concerned about the growing shortage of financial executives and financial directors in both the public service and the private sector. Her Seta had set aside R30m for the retraining plan.
The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta) had this year allocated R10m for retraining.
Nxesi remarked that R96m was needed for the retraining programme in her sector.
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