Picture: Overall winner, James Wilkinson, Group General Manager for Business Improvement at the Distell Group Limited scooped the 2017  Top 35 under 35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] award. Supplied.
Picture: Overall winner, James Wilkinson, Group General Manager for Business Improvement at the Distell Group Limited scooped the 2017 Top 35 under 35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] award. Supplied.
Picture: The entrepreneur category winner, Francois Herbst (30), MD of House of Growth (Pty) Ltd. Supplied.
Picture: The entrepreneur category winner, Francois Herbst (30), MD of House of Growth (Pty) Ltd. Supplied.
Picture: The public sector category award winner, Ayanda Kanana (35), Managing Executive at Metropolitan Trading Company (SOC) Ltd. Supplied.
Picture: The public sector category award winner, Ayanda Kanana (35), Managing Executive at Metropolitan Trading Company (SOC) Ltd. Supplied.
Picture: The special award for out of the ordinary winner, Tyron Barnard (31), Head of Audit Training at KPMG. Supplied.
Picture: The special award for out of the ordinary winner, Tyron Barnard (31), Head of Audit Training at KPMG. Supplied.
Picture: The special award for power of professional thinking: education winner, Robert Zwane (34), Director: Education & Transformation at the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Supplied.
Picture: The special award for power of professional thinking: education winner, Robert Zwane (34), Director: Education & Transformation at the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG -  The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has announced the winners of the The 2017 Top 35 and under 35 Chartered Accountants South Africa. 

The Top 35-under-35 competition, launched by SAICA in 2014 is aimed at recognising young achievers in Chartered Accountancy. 

The competition reveals successful professionals as well as their impact on society. The overall winner of the competition is 33 year old James Wilkinson. Wilkinson, Group General Manager for Business Improvement at the Distell Group Limited scooped the 2017  Top 35 under 35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] award.

Other category winners 

The public sector category award was won by Ayanda Kanana (35), Managing Executive at Metropolitan Trading Company (SOC) Ltd. The entrepreneur category was won by Francois Herbst (30), MD of House of Growth (Pty) Ltd. 

Two additional awards include the special award for power of professional thinking: education, won by Robert Zwane (34), Director: Education & Transformation at the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Lastly, the special award for out of the ordinary was won by Tyron Barnard (31), Head of Audit Training at KPMG.

The above mentioned winners are considered the 'cream of the crop' among this years under 35 CAs (SA). 

Yet, SAICA notes that all 35 finalists have successfully pursued their career and now lead within pronounced organisations. Overall winner, Wilkinson is also the first recipient of the very first PwC CEO Innovation Award. 

At his current job, he leads a team of about 20 professionals within Group Corporate Finance. In addition, Public sector category winner, Ayanda Kanana, has proven great resilience. Post articles, Kanana joined the Deloitte Learning Team and through that role, he influenced professional lives of trainees as a learning manager and also developed a keen interest in the public sector.

"My journey in the public sector began in 2010 when I became a member of Municipal Owned Entities’ Audit Committees", says Kanana. 

"There was a drive by the National Government to ensure that all government entities and departments were to achieve clean audits by year 2014, an initiative formulated by the late Sicelo Shiceka, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in 2009. I took this Operation Clean Audit 2014 initiative as my opportunity to make a difference in the public sector. This marked the beginning of my career in government".

Entrepreneur category winner, Francois Herbst, entrepreneur, was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. He is a life optimist and strategic-minded business man who has learned that networking and building strong relationships are the bridge between education and success.

Francois is the founder and Managing Director of the business advisory and consulting firm House of Growth. He is super-skilled in leveraging strong entrepreneurial expertise in corporate and financial transactions while pioneering, establishing and directing start-up companies and investment projects. To date, Francois has successfully secured R40 million in investment capital to finance start-up companies and investment projects.

‘As a business consultant for small and medium enterprises, I get to assist numerous entrepreneurs with the design and implementation of their financial structures, as well as their strategic planning. I see first-hand the growth of these individuals and their businesses. I am fortunate to find myself in an environment where I keep on learning, keep on challenging myself, and keep on growing as an individual and professional. To achieve this has been one of my career highlights,’ says Francois.

The participants and award winners were congratulated by SAICA Chief Executive Officer, Terence Nombembe. 

‘It is indeed gratifying to see that our young CAs(SA) are committed to responsible leadership when the profession is under scrutiny for purported unethical behaviour by a minority of CAs(SA) who have not embraced the principle of doing the right thing even while no one is looking", says Nombembe. 

“Our young CAs(SA) are a beacon of light and hope that points to the fact that our economy is in good hands, led by responsible young CA(SA) business leaders who through their commitment engender trust in the profession". 

The judges

Among the judges were seven prestigious business individuals and professionals. These include: 

- Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) - Chairperson of the judging panel 

- Business Consultant and Public Speaker, Andile Khumalo CA(SA) 

- Presenter of Power Business on Power98.7 and Chief Investment Officer of MSG Afrika Investment Holdings, Brent Tromp CA(SA) 

- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Discovery Health, Gugu Mtetwa CA(SA)

 - Non-executive Director, Sanjay Galal CA(SA) 

- CFO of Syspro, Njabulo Nyawo CA(SA) 

- Financial Insights Lead at Standard Bank and Michael Mchugh – Team Leader: Investec Private Bank

Speaking of the three category winners, one of the judges – Andile Khumalo said: "James Wilkinson is an all-round top candidate. Confident, ambitious and has already achieved so much at his age. Francois Herbst is nothing short of brilliant. His story and his focus are something special. Ayanda Kanana is a humble yet steadfast young man who has taken the road less travelled and put his career firmly on the line to ensure government does the right things and serves its people". 

The competition’s sponsors, Investec, PPS and Syspro recognised the value of the competition as it provides a platform to recognise young CAs(SA), both nationally and internationally, who are bringing about a valuable contribution to the economy of South Africa.

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