Certification FAQ's
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Frequently Asked Questions – Chartered Director (SA) vs. Certified Director


What is the difference between a Chartered Director (SA) and a Certified Director?

The Certified Director designation is aimed at recognising knowledge (proficiency) underpinning the Director Competency FrameworkTM

The Chartered Director (SA) designation is aimed at recognising mastery of directorship and requires demonstration of a proven track record of directorship experience against all 20 competencies within the Director Competency FrameworkTM.


What are the benefits of holding the CS(SA) or Certified Director designation?

Anyone can be appointed as a director of a company.  The main benefits of attaining the  designation are therefore:

  • Commitment – by volunteering to participate in the assessments required to attain the designation, individuals are signaling their commitment to the professionalization of directorship in South Africa;
  • Compliance – individuals attaining the designation also signal their compliance with the requirements of the King IV Report on Corporate Governance™ in South Africa, 2016;
  • Competence – the successful completion of the assessment demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the knowledge underpinning a director’s roles and responsibilities and corporate governance in general;
  • Code – all individuals who attain the designation are required to sign the Code of Conduct and can be disciplined in terms of this code; and,
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – designated individuals retain their status through a compulsory CPD programme.


What do I need to qualify for Certified Director designation?

No experience is required to attain the Certified Director designation.  The individual wanting to attain this designation needs to attend IoDSA training and successfully complete Part 1 and Part 2 of the Certified Director programme.


What are the entrance criteria for the CD(SA) designation?

  • The entrance criteria for the CD(SA) assessment requires that the candidate:
  • be a member of the IoDSA;
  • be at least 30 years old;
  • hold an NQF registered qualification at an NQF level 7 or higher or be able to demonstrate substantial and appropriate experience of at least 10 years as a director;
  • has been a practicing director of an organisation of substance or has held an equivalent office in any other entity that is an incorporate body, for at least 3 years during the 5 years prior to application; and
  • be sponsored by 2 individuals who are preferably members of the IoDSA, acting as proposer and seconder respectively.


Does the Certified Director designation contribute towards the CD(SA) career path?

Yes. The Certified Director designation can be used as a stepping stone toward gaining Chartered Director (SA) designation. Attaining the Certified Director designation flags to the market place that you have the proficiency to become a director and understand the knowledge underpinning the skills – as detailed in the Director Competency FrameworkTM

A Certified Director then needs to gain 3 years’ experience on the board of a company of substance in order to qualify for the CD(SA).


How do I become a Certified director?

The Certified Director (Cert.Dir.) is attained in two distinct parts:

  • Part 1: Training and MCQs – offered by the IoDSA through Director Development Programmes;
  • Part 2:  Assessment – a closed book exam managed by the Director Certification Secretariat.

Part 2 cannot be initiated until a Letter of Completion is issued by the IoDSA’s Director  Development department.


How do I become a CD(SA)?

The process of qualifying as a CD(SA)  is broken down into 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: Registration and initial evaluation of directorships and Organisation of Substance criteria.
  • Phase 2: Assessment, which includes the submission of a Portfolio of qualifications and experience, a 4 hour examination as well as a peer interview.

Once the CD(SA) has been gained, the candidate is required to maintain their status through continuing professional development (CPD). 


What is an Organisation of Substance?

In order to register for the CD(SA) assessment, a candidate needs to ensure that the type of experience that they have acquired as director or an equivalent position aligns to the requirements of the IoDSA Director Competency Framework.  This is only possible if the experience has been gained on a substantive board of a well-established organisation. 

To this end, the IoDSA has developed a checklist of criteria that can be used to determine whether (a) the organisation is substantive and (b) the board and its board committees is established and complies with good governance practices.

The checklist (also included in the CD(SA) online Application for Registration) includes the following criteria to be met in order to be described as an “organisation of substance”:

  • The organisation has founding documents and board/committee charters which govern
  • Annual report or annual integrated report published
  • Audited annually
  • Governing body is established and meets at least 4 times a year
  • Board Committees meet at least 2 times a year
  • The organisation has the following board committees:

o  Audit and risk

o  Human resource or Remuneration committee

o  Nominations committee

o  Social and ethics committee

o  Other board committees that fulfil similar functions

  • The organisation has a majority non-executives directors on the governing body
  • The organisation has appointed a company secretary or governance professional advising the governing body if applicable
  • The organisation has shareholders or members if applicable

The organisation holds an annual general meeting (AGM) or annual shareholder or stakeholder meeting if applicable