Bongani Coka has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) with effect from 1 July 2016.
Coka most recently fulfilled the role of CEO at Productivity SA for five years, after having served as the organisation’s CFO for 10 years. His professional experience also includes 16 years in management, 10 years tutoring in tax and accounting and two years of drafting Accounting training material experience.
“I accepted this position because I believe that SAIPA’s role is critical for the sustainability of small to medium enterprises, which I am extremely passionate about,” says Coka.
“SAIPA members are ideally positioned to act as trusted partners offering a range of business advisory services, particularly to the small business sector-the supposed engine of the SA economy. Our role is to help the engine fire on all cylinders by helping to unlock the potential of the small business sector and ensuring their sustainability”.
Coka believes that while accounting professionals have to move with the times and stay up-to-date, the profession is unlikely to be redundant anytime soon. The skills used by accountants to record, classify, interpret, and communicate the financial information about an entity can be applied to any entity in any field, industry or sector.
The transferability of accountancy skills has enabled Coka to work across different sectors, including working for a non-profit organisation, a state owned enterprise, and a public entity.
“Mr Coka’s proficiency in the fields of finance and accounting, combined with his passion for education and small enterprises, will serve well in achieving the strategic objectives of SAIPA,” says Cindy Dibete, chairman of the SAIPA board. “Mr Coka is known as an inspirational leader who shows empathy, and as a visionary who is decisive and courageous.”
After earning a Bachelor of Accounting Science from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1988, and completing his articles at Deloitte and Touché, Coka also earned from UNISA his Bachelor of Accounting Science Honours in 1994.. Coka’s other qualifications include a Higher Diploma in Tax Law from the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), as well as the designation as Associate General Accountant, both earned in 1998.
Further adding to Coka’s relevant experience is previous board memberships including chairman of the board of the Productivity South Africa Pension Fund Committee, board Secretary General of Pan African Productivity Association, and committee member of both the Work Place Challenge Joint Committee, and the Social Plan Joint Committee. Coka also serves in the Audit Committee of his church.
Born on 8 January 1960 and raised in Vosloorus in the east of Johannesburg, Coka remembers being in the class with the first learners to matriculate from the first township High School in 1980. “We had to work harder as the teachers were inexperienced and resources were limited.”
This set the tone for the rest of Coka’s path of education. He obtained all his tertiary qualifications through correspondence, relying heavily on his discipline, independence, and determination.
Coka is married with two children, and as part of his community participation assists an orphanage and a school in the South of Johannesburg as part of his community participation and is also mentor and counsel to students.
Through his keen interest in reading empowering books and attending football matches Coka stays inspired to be an advocate of continuous improvement. He believes that asking the right questions is the key to diagnosing a problem, and that it enables one to better understand the desires, beliefs, actions, and wants of the others.
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