Top achieving students in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance were recognised for their academic excellence at the annual UKZN-SAICA Students’ Awards Ceremony.
The virtual prize giving saw 47 awards being bestowed on first, second and third-year and postgraduate students in various categories.
In his welcome address, Dean and Head of School Professor Mabutho Sibanda highlighted that the accounting programme’s throughput has improved, a sign that the teaching and learning interventions implemented by the School are yielding results.
‘In 2016, the throughput rate at third-year level was 55%. This improved to well over 85% in 2019. The deliberate interventions and initiatives put in place by the School with the assistance of the accounting programmes Advisory Board is behind this improvement,’ said Sibanda.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic did disrupt the academic programme and thanked students and academics for remaining committed to academic studies during these difficult times.
‘The ceremony comes at a time when the whole world faces a new normal caused by COVID-19. I am grateful to the academic and professional staff who ensured that the academic programme is a success and the students who have endured much hardship studying in uncomfortable and unconducive environments,’ he said.
SAICA Regional Executive Mr Naeem Asvat advised students to ensure that ethics and integrity are the foundation of their careers.
‘We are grateful to your parents and lecturers for the role that they have played in your success. This is the beginning of the journey and not the end. One of the most important aspects of the profession is the ethical responsibility that you have as a citizen, a professional and to society. It is imperative that you make ethics and integrity the foundation of your being,’ he said.
Top achievers in their year of study, Mr Lindani Biyela (first-year), Mr Okuhle Dlame (second-year), Ms Nomfundo Khawula (third-year) and Mr Fanele Majola (fourth-year) are proof of the successful drive to produce more African Chartered Accountants. Top honours went to Mr Mikailen Naidoo (overall top first-year student), Ms Meleshnie Govender (overall top second-year student), Mr Sriram Maharaj (overall top third-year student) and Mr Muhammed Bacus (Overall top fourth-year/PGDA student).
Senior Manager/Training Officer at the Auditor-General’s office, Ms Lungile Mnqayi congratulated the students and advised them to be aware of and use all the resources available to them.
‘You have done well although 2020 has been and still is a very challenging year. In our profession, it definitely does not get easier but you are fit to make your dream of becoming a chartered accountant come true. We look forward to seeing you next year as trainee auditors within the Auditor-General’s office.’
The Auditor-General of South Africa sponsored the event, with individual prizes sponsored by SAICA, Lexis Nexis, BDO, Deloitte and Sherwood Books.
Watch the awards here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGGHHJVQE9Q
Words: Thandiwe Jumo