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The role of SETAs in South Africa

Article written by Marc Antony Rorich (SEESA)

In 1998, the South African Parliament developed the Skills Development Act. The act defined a new Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) system. The goal was to develop a series of sector skills plans within a clearly defined framework of the National Skills Development Strategy.

On April 29, 2010, Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande, gave a statement detailing the public release of the proposed new SETA landscape. This new landscape reduced the then current 23 SETAs down to 21 SETAs.

The role of the SETAs

The functions and responsibilities of SETAs are set out in Chapter 3, section 10 of the Skills Development Act, 1998, which are to:

  • Develop and implement a sector skills plan. This is a plan to describe the trends in each sector, the skills that are in demand and to identify priorities for skills development.
  • Develop and administer learning programmes. These include skills programmes and learnerships.
  • Support the implementation of the national qualifications framework. The national qualifications framework (NQF) is the framework based on eight levels, on which any qualification or learning outcome can be registered.
  • Undertake quality assurance on the provision of learning in line with the QCTO requirements, which include the following:
    • Accredit education and training providers,
    • Monitor provision to ensure that programmes are being followed,
    • Register assessors,
    • Collaborate with other education and training quality assurers.
  • Disburse levies collected from employers in their sector. Employers pay 1% of their salary payroll to SARS monthly. 80% of the portion of this contribution is distributed to SETAs and is allocated to administration costs and grants to be claimed back by companies.
  • Report to the Minister. SETAs are statutory bodies, so this means that they are established by an Act of Parliament, and they are given clear responsibilities to be discharged in the public interest, as they are custodians of public funds (levies). SETAs must report to the Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training on the efficient and effective use of funds. SETAs are also governed by the Public Finance Management Act, which is designed to ensure that public bodies operate in a manner that is not wasteful or irresponsible.

Skills development registration process

If the total employment payroll calculates to more than R 500 000 per annum, you must register for an SDL number and pay a 1% skills levy over to SARS. To ensure that the application for registration for SDL is processed correctly, a valid classification SETA/SIC (Sector Industry Code) code must be completed on the relevant registration form. Employers who do not complete said SETA/SIC code fields would automatically be allocated to SETA 0, or SARS will use their discretion on SETA allocation, which places a burden on SETA allocation for future reference, e.g. Mandatory grant claims.

SEESA skills training and the SETAs

Companies must comply with several legislative obligations, including the Skills Development Act, and SEESA provides clients with a subject matter expert as a qualified skills development practitioner or facilitator (SDF).

There are various responsibilities of said facilitator to the SEESA clients are:

  • Establish SETA allocation.
  • Develop and submit workplace skills plan (WSP) and annual training report (ATR), based on accurate information provided by the company.
  • Advise and monitor implementation of the WSP, and act as a point of contact between the SETA and the stakeholder. The SDF will also ensure that companies receive mandatory grant payments based on levies paid to SARS each month.

Based on the above, it is beneficial for all companies to participate in the skills development process and appoint an SDF to assist with submitting mandatory grant applications on their behalf. The administrative burden is then alleviated from the company, and companies can then rely on their SDF to fill this role on their behalf.

Contact your nearest SEESA office to assist your business with any queries regarding the skills development registration process. Alternatively, please leave your name on our website for a SEESA representative to contact you.

SEESA is a proud Partner of the NSBC

About the author:

Marc Antony Rorich started his career at SEESA in 2006 in the BEE Marketing department. In 2014 he was approached to join the skills team as an SDF and is currently presenting SEESA training on the subject matter of employment equity.


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