COAT OF ARMS Download the brochure titled: SAIGA's Values and Activities (pdf) HISTORIC BACKGROUND During 1998, the Council of the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA) tasked its Innovation and Repositioning Committee (IRC) to reposition the Institute in terms of its mission, objectives and activities, taking into account socio-economic developments and dynamics pertaining to the accounting and auditing professions. The IRC, chaired by the Institute's Executive President, Professor Dieter Gloeck, made various recommendations, including the development of a new Constitution, the establishment of various publications, the foundation of SAIGA's Public Finance Management Academy, the development of a Common Body of Knowledge and Skills for Registered Government Auditors and numerous other activities and projects which would enhance the Institute's role in contributing towards the advancement of accountability in its broadest sense. These recommendations were implemented over a period of three years. Today, SAIGA meets its social responsibilities by following an Operational Plan of Prioritised Activities (OPPAS) within a defined value system. The design and exhibition of a coat of arms forms an important part of pronouncing the Institute's values and activities to the broader community. It was developed during 2001, taking into account the innovated role of the Institute. The Bureau of Heraldry registered the Institute's coat of arms in February 2002 (Government Notice 142; Government Gazette 23072) and the arms enjoy legal protection under the Heraldry Act, 1962. This document explains the meaning of the symbols used in the coat of arms and thereby provides insight into the activities and values of SAIGA. OVERALL SHAPE AND DESIGN OF THE COAT OF ARMS The overall shape and basic design of the arms show upward movement which is achieved by a broad base formed by the scrolls, the central, upward-pointing key, the top edge of the pediment pointing upwards, the elements of the crown pointing up and the raised wings of the secretary birds. The design is narrowing from bottom to top, forming a triangular or pyramid-like shape. These elements give the impression of upward motion and dynamics to symbolize the progress made by the Institute. General movement is further upwardly enhanced by the manner in which the secretary birds position their wings. This illustrates the momentum the Institute gained in advancing accountability in its broadest context. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] THE BASE OF THE COAT OF ARMS The base of the arms is formed by the rib band, bearing the inscription of the Institute's mission "Advancing Accountability". In this context the term accountability has to be seen in its widest context, the external audit function being a cornerstone of the accountability framework. The object of the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors to advance public accountability is in harmony with the objectives of important legislation such as the Public Finance Management Act which also strives to improve public accountability. The statement of the Institute's objective at the base of the coat of arms provides the solid foundation from which all activities are focuses upward. This approach is in harmony with the management approach as advocated in the Public Finance Management Act. As part of their budget all public sector institutions have to formulate the objectives they wish to achieve. This not only provides focus, but also enhances accountability and allows performance measurement and management. The motto "Advancing Accountability" captures a wide range of the Institute's activities aimed at promoting and developing the concept of accountability, including research, education, sharing of information and public discourse. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] THE CENTRAL OBJECT OF THE COAT OF ARMS The shield The central object of the coat of arms is a large Nguni-type shield which was chosen as it links up with traditional South African shields and is also nowadays commonly applied in many applications to indicate the constitutional changes affected since 1994. In this regard the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors underlines that it is a truly African based organisation and lesser emphasis is given to traditionally European-based heraldic symbols such as the armored knight's helmet commonly used in heraldic arms. The shield also points to one of the central functions of the government auditor, namely that of protecting the public from the misuse of public funds. The auditor's shield literally protects the public against corruption and fraud. The scrolls of parchment behind the shield Whereas shields are normally held upright by crossed spears, these weapons are replaced by two scrolls in SAIGA's coat of arms. The scrolls portray the reports through which the various public sector organisations discharge their accountability responsibilities. Each annual report contains an audit report issued by the Office of the Auditor-General, thereby enhancing the credibility of the information contained in the annual reports. Audit reports provide assurances to the public or highlight misappropriations, fraud and other malpractices. In this context the audit report can be seen as the government auditor's "weapon". The crossed scrolls have another function as they link up with the Canadian heraldic style where many of the heralds of the Canadian Heraldic Authority use batons behind a shield. The Canadian reference acknowledges that country's leadership in developing the concepts of efficiency, effectiveness and economy and its applicability in performance management, performance reporting and performance auditing. The three keys The three keys symbolise the ability of unlocking human potential through educational activities. This aspect refers directly to the Institute's Public Finance Management Academy an institution founded by the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors to host the Public Finance Management Programme. These initiatives are intended to empower public sector managers and government auditors to understand and implement the many advanced concepts introduced by the Public Finance Management Act. The three keys' beards hold the letter "E" which refers to the so-called 3E's, being efficiency, effectiveness and economy, a concept on which management in the public sector is based. Managing according to the efficiency, effectiveness and economy concepts is also referred to as statutory performance management. This management approach is prescribed by statute in the Public Finance Management Act. The coat of arms therefore also denotes SAIGA's strong support for the Public Finance Management Act and related legislation. The efforts of the Institute to assist staff of the Office of the Auditor-General and the public sector workforce in general to develop the notion of professionalism is publicized by the three keys which unlock or develop the three building blocks of professional competence, being knowledge, skills and attitudes. Like the keys these elements are interlinked and complement each other. The gold bezants  The gold bezants in the central position of the shield highlight the fact that the audit function is directed at the use of public moneys. The respective coins refer to the allocations to the various spheres of government and other public entities financed by public fund allocations. The five spheres referred to are: funds for the national and provincial departments, local authorities, public entities and various legislatures and constitutional institutions. The government auditor is involved in the audit of all the above mentioned funds. The bezants' position on the shield is important as it symbolizes the relative importance of money. The bezants are not placed on top, (which would rank money as being the highest value) but take up a position in the middle of the shield. Justice, accountability, the Constitution, Parliament, independence, national values and other functions rank above money. The triple pillared portico The triple pillared portico is central to the arms' design and in representing Parliament, it highlights the Institute's main sphere of activity, being the public sector. The role of Parliament relates furthermore directly to the function of the government auditor, since the government auditor not only reports to Parliament, but the Office of the Auditor- General is accountable to Parliament through the Audit Commission. The three pillars symbolise the three spheres of government: national, provincial and local. It also underwrites the government auditors' statutory mandate to carry out the audit functions in terms of the Auditor-General Act and the Audit Arrangements Act. The portico has a dual meaning as it also depicts the pillars of the Institute's Public Finance Management Academy. In this context the three pillars have a specific educational connotation, referring to the three elements of professional education, being knowledge, skills and attitudes. The pillars symbolize strength which a solid educational basis holds. The triangular roof of the portico likens that of a pyramid, symbolising strength, progress and unity, qualities found in the Institute's numerous initiatives and activities. The background of the upper part of the shield hosting the portico is white, creating the effect of transparency and allows the viewer to look "through" the structure. The transparency and the “openness” of the structure which has no doors and offers unbarred access, highlight an important element of accountability and also underlines the accessibility of the programmes of the Public Finance Management Academy. The Institute, in accord with the Public Finance Management Act advances transparency and openness. These elements are the foundations of strong governance and accountability. They are essential to effective and efficient auditing. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] THE CROWN OF THE COAT OF ARMS The Proteas As a truly South Africa flower this symbol emphasizes the Institute's South African origin. The hardiness of the Protea flower likens the external audit function which has stood the test of time and is not only accepted and appreciated world-wide, but also maintained and supported by legislation. The fountain pen tips The fountain pen tips relate directly to the auditor's practice of marking items which have been subject to audit examination (the audit tick). The auditor also reports to Parliament on the state of public accounts by means of a written report. In general, the written word plays an important part in auditing since the hierarchy of audit evidence suggests that written evidence ranks above oral evidence. The multitude of tips in the crown demonstrate that auditors are operating in teams to obtain a balanced view and to combine various forms of expertise. The fountain pen tips are marked with green ink. The colour green is the adopted colour of the Institute, which is derived from the green ink which auditors use to mark transactions which have been subject to audit examination. All elements of the crown point upward, thereby emphasising the constructive function of the government auditing. The Secretary Birds The coat of arms culminates with two Secretary Birds facing each other. The two birds are positioned uninhibited and free at the top of the shield. This refers directly to the independence of the auditor and his/her mandate to conduct an investigation without restrictions. Since the secretary birds are known for their alertness and sharpness of eye, these qualities are emphasises with reference to the government auditor. The demi-position of the birds show them implanted in the crown and shield, portraying the roots of the auditor in the symbols portrayed by the shield: Proteas and the fountain pen tips marked with green ink. The two birds do not oppose each other as their heads and eyes are turned down towards other objects, indicating a protective and caring stance similar to that of the audit function. They also denote teamwork and the balanced approach applied in each audit. The secretary birds in the Institute's coat of arms again symbolizes the strong South African connotation as South Africa's national coat of arms also depicts a secretary bird. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] THE COLOURS OF THE COAT OF ARMS Vert (green) and or (gold) are the main heraldic colours of SAIGA's coat of arms. The colour green is the official colour of the Institute and traditionally associated with the external audit function, whilst gold refers to money or public funds which form the centre of the audit investigation. The colour green also represents other qualities and its symbolism refers to characteristics and values which are embedded in the Institute: The psychology of colour [ Lilian Verner-Bonds] "Green is harmony; it stabilises. Green is idealistic, socially aware, helpful and selfless. It is dependable and diplomatic. Green can see both sides but can be moralistic. Green is clarity and understanding. Positive. Green is the giver. It is generous and loves to share what it accumulates." The two colours (vert and or) are complimented by a third, neutral colour, sable (black). OTHER SHAPES A number of shapes found in the design are similar to those used by auditors to mark transactions and entries which have been subject to an audit examination. Examples hereof are the cross formed by the scrolls of parchment, the shape of the rib band and the bezants as well as the triangular roof of the portal and the shapes formed by the shafts of the three keys.   FINALE The overall devise of SAIGA's coat of arms is a modern one, emphasizing that the Institute has undergone a process of reform which was guided by its Innovation and Repositioning Committee to incorporate the constitutional reform in South Africa. The Southern African Institute of Government Auditors is a fully transformed Institute adapted and positioned to serve the country by advancing accountability in its broadest sense. [ BACK TO THE TOP ]
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