Tech-Talk, recently, had a one-on-one interview with the Southern Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA), Gauteng Regional Chairperson, Lerato Madileng who shared more on her journey with SAIGA, studies including career.
Lerato who is passionate about her role as the Gauteng Regional Chairperson says: “I never knew I will end up in the auditing profession, but when the opportunity was afforded to me I could not refuse. I was elected as the regional chairperson for the Gauteng region and now serve on the SAIGA Africa and Global Committee”, she has also been recently appointed as a Director at WFA Christian Business School, which focuses on developing kids at a school level to be enterpreniours.
Lerato says: “The motivation for the positions at SAIGA will afford me the opportunity to become a link between my fellow members and SAIGA head office, in order to ensure that members ’needs are met.”
She says if the profession is well marketed, there is a possibility of SAIGA expanding across borders. “SAIGA is a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), and that says to me, I can add value in order to ensure that our designation is across boarder continent. We are a blessed continent, rich with mineral resources. As RGAs our role is to drive public accountability”.
“I hope that during my term in office I will be able to leave a great blueprint for the future incoming chairpersons so that they know what needs to be done. We are currently navigating the space and this is due to the fact that our committee is the first structure of its nature to be established.”
Lerato is a Pretoria Tech alumni and was one of the top students in her public finance and management accounting studies, who passed the Public Finance and Management subjects with caum laude. As a result of this, she was approached by Prof Lourens Erasmus while she was still studying towards her undergraduate degree.
She says Prof Erasmus mentioned that SAIGA had identified the candidates who would join Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) as trainees. “I took this opportunity and was amongst the first pilot programme of trainees who wrote the exams. We wrote both the public and private sector exams.
“The first day at AGSA was very emotional because people seemed like they did not know about SAIGA’s professional route. I remember at AGSA it was just four of us (including the SAIGA President Phillip Rakgwale and Former- EXCO Chairperson Moipone Ramoipone) standing in our corner there and other trainees giving you that look which questioned our profession because they did not know about the SAIGA training scheme. Anyway, we swinged and made it,” says Lerato.
Lerato says they were notified two weeks before the exam dates because at first there seemed to be uncertainty about whether they would write the exams. However, she commended the commitment by Prof Lourens who took initiative to lecture them well in a short space of time.
“He really lectured us during those two weeks! We learned a lot; PFMA (Public Finance Management Act), Treasury Regulations and Treasury Instructions. He would tell you in each and every section that this one is for constitutional institutions, departments and for public entities. We acquired the right knowledge to work in the public sector,” she says.
She recalls that in their department working at AGSA they were surprised by how much SAIGA trainees knew because at that time the PFMA was still new. “We knew everything we learned by heart. Our faith in the RGA profession is what kept us going”, says Lerato.
Before joining SAIGA, Lerato was an intern at the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI),now known as National School of Government, I then moved on to work for the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA), I was then pouched by the Department of Labour and I later joined the office of the Auditor General where I did my articles.
Lerato says for her first job, she was paid R1200 per month. “This was a struggle because I was taking a taxi to work”, but I managed. Not everything is about money, what is of value –“is to know where you come from and where you are going”. I believe that if one has faith and works hard you will make it. However, Lerato points out that the journey is never easy,” she says.
Speaking on the issue of members who lost their membership status due to unpaid fees, Lerato says SAIGA has introduced membership amnesty for inactive members. In support of the amnesty initiative she says: “We encourage all former members in Gauteng to come back and rejoin the institute.”
To other SAIGA members Lerato says: “We have contributed in the development of the supreme auditing institution in South Africa. So, let us hold our designation with pride. We should always remember to abide by the code of conduct of auditors, serve our country with integrity and patriotism.”