Chairperson, indeed, we agree with the not so profound amendments to the Bill, and also agree with the standards of the auditing profession in South Africa. Of course, we share your sentiments and we are all very proud of that achievement by this profession.
The DA supports the concept of developing human capital in South Africa. We know that our country suffers from a severe shortage of critical skills and we welcome any measure that will enable more people to obtain more skills more rapidly.
The DA shares the concern that there are not enough registered African auditors in South Africa, as the chairperson has indicated, and the Portfolio Committee on Finance noted the extremely low representation of previously disadvantaged groups in the auditing profession. The chairperson is correct in saying that 8% of auditors in South Africa are African. We support the notion that new and innovative ways should be explored to increase the representivity of auditors in both racial and gender terms, while, of course, the auditing standards required are not sacrificed.
Furthermore, we support the objectives of the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill, which provide for the regulation of candidate auditors. Now, I think that those amendments were the crux of the matter.
As the background to the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill, we note the establishment of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and, also as background, we note the Auditing Profession Act, Act 26 of 2005, which provides for the free education, training and professional development of auditors. It also provides for the registration of auditors and regulates the conduct of already registered auditors.
The audit industry's professional body, as mentioned, supports the initiative and so does the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, which also manages the examinations for the career progression of candidate auditors.
While we recognise the very urgent need for transformation in the auditing profession, the auditing standards required cannot be sacrificed for the sake of fast-tracking the Bill. On this note, the Bill introduces a category of candidate auditors who will work alongside a registered auditor. I think that is a very practical recommendation and we, in fact, support the amendments to the Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]