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SABPP Celebrates SA’S Top Young HR Talent

by Marius Meyer


On 27 and 28 September 2018, representatives from a total of 19 universities convened in Vanderbijlpark as part of the SA HR Universities Forum, a sub-committee of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the human resource (HR) professional and quality assurance body of South Africa.  SABPP accredits the HR academic programmes of universities to ensure that the national HR standards are met by academic institutions.  Rotating to different universities, this year the host was Vaal University of Technology (VUT).  The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of VUT, Prof Gordon Zide opened the event and highlighted the importance of the HR profession for the success of any organisation. He said:  “HR is a strategic professional advisor. HR must stand for truth and justice.”

Academics from different universities presented their current and future HR qualifications ranging from HR diplomas, to degrees, to honours degrees, to master’s degrees and eventually doctoral degrees.  This ensures that there is a full suite of HR academic programmes from entry level qualifications to advanced as well as post-graduate qualifications. Not only did the academics agree to integrate the national HR standards into their curriculum, teaching and research, but also to continuously innovate in providing the best possible academic programmes for their students.  Agreement was also reached to facilitate the articulation of students between institutions by recognising the SABPP accreditation status of institutions.

A highlight of the event was the national HR Student awards. These annual awards are issued by SABPP to recognise top HR students from different universities.  Five finalists from five universities were present, i.e. the University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, Walter Sisulu University, Vaal University of Technology and Nelson Mandela University.  In addition to academic performance, the top students were asked to present to a panel of experts, including an HR Director from a leading company, in addition to academics, as well as a publishing company manager.  They were also interviewed by the panel of judges and had to display their knowledge of the HR Standards and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as providing evidence of their leadership and engagement in community service.   At the end of the awards process, the top three students in South Africa were announced as follows:

Best student: Frank Wilkinson, University of Pretoria (R15 000, trophy, certificate, tablet and book vouchers)


Second best student: Charnte Marthinus, Vaal University of Technology (Trophy, Certificate, R7000 and book vouchers)


Third best student: Khanyisa Sam, Nelson Mandela University (Trophy, Certificate, R3000 and book vouchers)


The purpose of the awards is to advance and celebrate HR student excellence in South Africa as part of building the HR profession with young talent from universities.  SABPP has several student chapters at universities to assist HR students on the journey towards preparing to enter the HR profession once they complete their studies. Students are connected to HR Managers in industry and they are encouraged to engage in community projects as active young citizens of South Africa.  Recently, SABPP  launched the HR Youth Council consisting of the Leaders from the different student chapters to give the HR youth a national voice in accordance with the HR Voice strategy of SABPP. Another youth empowerment initiative of SABPP is the HR Candidate development programme, i.e. a structured HR youth professionalisation programme enabling HR graduates to acquire the fourteen HR competencies of the South African HR Competency Model. These competencies range from Strategic HR Management, to Talent Management to HR Risk Management at the HR-business level, to covering typical HR functional competence areas such as employment relations management and organisation development.

In 2013 SABPP became a world leader in HR Standards when they developed the first set of national HR standards for HR departments in the world.  HR professionals were subsequently approved as Ex-officio Commissioners of Oaths by the Minister of Justice.   When these students from SABPP–accredited universities enter the workplace and register as HR professionals with SABPP in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework Act, they will also become Commissioners of Oaths under the Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act.  Moreover, companies are now audited against the HR standards.

The Chairperson of the SA HR Universities Forum is Dr Pierre Joubert from VUT, and the vice-chair is Dr Revelation Mokgele from North-West University.


Marius Meyer lectures in HR Management at Stellenbosch University and is the HR Standards Thought Leader for SABPP. An earlier version of this article appeared in HR Voice Magazine.  For more information about SABPP, visit www.sabpp.co.za or @sabpp1 on Twitter and @sabpp_1 on Instagram  

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Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the professional body for HR practitioners and Education and Training Quality Assurance Body for HR in South Africa.


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