Sifiso Sibaya has become one of the first black paraplegics to pass his chartered accountant exams in KZN, and will be joining global business advisors, KPMG, at the end of his traineeship in April.
However, things were not always easy for Sifiso.
As a fit young school-leaver in 1996, Sifiso decided that the Chartered Accountancy profession sound like a good idea. He discussed this choice with several members of his family and subsequently arranged a meeting at KPMG in Pietermaritzburg (where his brother was doing vacation work) to find out more about his chosen career.
At KPMG he met Leo Quayle, the staff partner at the time, who was very impressed with this young basket-ball star, and who immediately offered him a bursary to continue his education at University. This offer was accepted with alacrity and in 1997 Sifiso started studying for his BCom at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
After a successful two years, things were going well for the young Sibiya.
Then, suddenly in 1999, his life was changed forever. A dreadful motor accident sent the young sportsman to hospital for several months and left him contemplating a future confined to a wheelchair. Accepting his new restrictions, he turned his efforts fully to his studies and in 2001 he obtained his interrupted BCom. At the same time, he started his Honours and applied to KPMG Pietermaritzburg for a traineeship.
Pietermaritzburg office had a logistical problem for this young man in that it is located on the second floor of a building that does not have a mechanical lift. However, Leo Quayle resolved the situation by employing Sifiso as a trainee in the Durban office where Leo was now heading up the Internal Audit Service division of KPMG in KwaZulu-Natal.
Sifiso has continued to live in Pietermaritzburg with his family support group and, in his converted little red Hyundai, he has driven to and from Durban with regular dedication.
In 2002 he wrote and passed his Honours and in early 2003 he was also successful in the very tough first part of the CA examinations. Everything was going well until, a few months before the second part of the examinations later that same year, Sifiso had a fall and broke one of his legs, leading to secondary infection. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to pass the exams at the end of the year owing to the three month disruption, but, in his indomitable manner, he rewrote at the end of 2004 and passed with flying colours.
No-one was more delighted to hear about Sifiso’s results than Leo who has supported Sifiso through his difficult times. Before the results, he had already contracted Sifiso to join Internal Audit Services at the end of his traineeship in April and is thrilled that his faith in his young protégée has been so aptly rewarded.