Financial managers, officials and those in charge of tenders at municipalities will have to boost their book smarts or risk losing their jobs.
According to new regulations gazetted on Friday, gone are the days when a council’s chief financial officer will be required to have a diploma, or rather a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 6 qualification, to apply for or land the post – now they will have to have a bachelor’s degree.
The new regulations stipulate that any financial officer in a municipality with an annual budget of less than R1 billion will need to “at least have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or economics, or a relevant qualification registered on the NQF at level 7 with a minimum of 360 credits”.
In the past, they could be employed with a higher certificate in further education and training (NQF level 5).
And those finance officials at municipalities with a budget of R1 billion or more must “at least have a postgraduate degree or qualification in the fields of accounting, finance or economics registered on NQF level 8 with a minimum of 120 credits, or be a chartered accountant”.
The new regulations are called the Municipal Amendment Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels.
The minimum competency levels for heads of supply chain management units have also been changed.
Those at municipalities with a budget below R1 billion must now have a diploma – instead of the previous higher certificate requirement – and those at municipalities with a budget of more than R1 billion need to hold a bachelor’s degree.
This change also extends to supply chain management managers.
Those at smaller municipalities will need a diploma in supply chain management, accounting, finance or economics.
Those at larger municipalities will also need a diploma in the related fields.
According to the regulations, the existing financial and supply chain management officials who do not meet the minimum competency levels have been given until August 2 to attain the required levels.
However, a person appointed as a financial or supply chain management official on or after the date these regulations went into effect are given leeway to “attain that minimum competency level within 18 months from the date of appointment”.
Getting the required competency levels within prescribed time frames will be included in their performance agreements.
If a financial officer or supply chain management official does not meet the minimum competency requirements within the time frame, the amended regulation says that it must be included in their employment contracts.
“The employment contract must also state that, if not attained within the applicable period, the employment contract will terminate automatically within one month after the applicable period.”