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The transformation of the actuarial profession in South Africa owes much of its success to the South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP).

August 04, 2023

By Mrs. S’onqoba Vuba – SAADP Alum and Chairperson of the SAADP Board

1. My story with SAADP
Let me start with the story of myself and the South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP). SAADP found me as a Grade 12 learner at Germiston High School in 2005. I had just let go of an ill-informed dream to become a psychologist and switched to a pursuit to study Actuarial Science after discovering it by chance through a psychometric assessment.

Getting accepted into the University of the Witwatersrand was good, but getting news of my SAADP scholarship was the ultimate moment because it made it all possible – I still vividly recall the congratulatory call from Ms. Nokwanda Mkhize, SAADP Executive Director in early 2006. My story is just one of 853 students who have been through the SAADP programme.

2. Celebrating SAADP success

This year, SAADP turns 20 years of its existence, and we celebrate:
589 students who have graduated with Actuarial Science degrees (almost a 70% success rate).
The average pass rate of 75-85% annually.
82 qualified actuaries and
Countless families whose lives have been changed by SAADP.
I count myself privileged to be the Chairperson of this organization and we have a lot to celebrate given the role that SAADP has played in transforming the Actuarial profession in South Africa. Funding totaling to over R250 million has been used to achieve this and has been managed with a clean audit annually.

3. SAADP’s drive for transformation

The actuarial profession in South Africa has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years, with significant advancements made in diversity and inclusion. The transformation of the actuarial profession in South Africa owes much of its success to the South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP). SAADP has played a pivotal role in shaping this transformation through targeted initiatives and comprehensive support to students in an effort to address historical imbalances within the profession. That role has been spearheaded since 2003 under the leadership of our Executive Director, Nokwanda Mkhize. This month Ms Mkhize retires after 20 years with SAADP and we celebrate her legacy and positive impact on the lives of countless young people, mine included.

4. Unveiling our new SAADP Executive Director

On 1 June 2023, we welcomed our incoming Executive Director, Nthato Selebi, to lead this charge. Nthato who joins us with a wealth of experience and passion for transformation having previously filled the role of Project Director: Thuthuka Bursary Fund as well as having worked for transformative organisations such as LEAP and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Nthato is a previous teacher and is currently also walking the road to becoming an advocate. As the SAADP Board, we look forward to working with Nthato in taking SAADP to the next level, from it’s firm foundations.

With continued commitment and dedication from all stakeholders, the programme’s impact is poised to continue to leave a lasting legacy in the actuarial profession, driving positive change for years and generations to come.

5. The challenge of black and women underrepresentation in Actuarial Science

The recent statistics from the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) show a strong pipeline of gender and racial representativity in the Student and Associate member base. Women make up 40% of Associate Actuaries and 27% of Actuarial Fellows. Black people make up 20% of the Associate base and 9% of the Fellow base, while we continue to see a need for more Coloured representation which currently stands at 3% of Associate Actuaries and 2% of Actuarial Fellows.

Despite the gains made, the work continues as we work to convert the strong pipeline into a realized representative actuarial profession.

There is still more to be done in transforming the actuarial profession of this country and SAADP continues to have an important role to play alongside partners such as the:

  • Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA),
  • Sponsors who stand alongside us in making this possible.
  • Academic institutions, including the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria, and the University of Cape Town, and
  • Other key players in the public and private sectors.

Our goal has always been, and continues to be the development of black Actuaries and as we continue to embark down this road, we celebrate the gains made since our inception in 2003 and look forward with renewed energy and focus on the task that lies ahead. We continue to strive towards the vision “to be a significant role player in improving the demographics of the actuarial profession in South Africa.”

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