SINGLE BLOG ARTICLE

There has been a hype of activity recently in the skills development landscape with a vast amount of communication from SETAs, Quality Councils and SAQA. These communications clearly indicate an improvement in sharing information with stakeholders and personally I am grateful for associations such as the Association for Skills Development in South Africa (ASDSA) and supportive platforms such as Skills Universe for disseminating the information but also for providing clarity around the content being shared.

As an accredited private training provider, Global Business Solutions is currently underway with our Skills Development Provider application to the QCTO*. You may have seen the recent communique issued regarding historic qualifications and part qualification which also addresses the concerns training providers and employers may have around the validity and re-registration of existing unit standards and qualifications. Remember any accredited training course – be it a full or part qualification – is aligned to a qualification or unit standards registered with SAQA.

This communique clearly indicates that due consideration has been given to the needs of continued accredited training and that proper planning is in place to ensure that all training providers align themselves to the new quality assurance processes.

This information is important for employers who partner with external training providers as every employer has the responsibility to partner with reputable providers to ensure quality delivery of training.

In other news; some of us lived through the aftermath of the last skills reporting season and for those involved in the submission of these reports, you would be interested to read the recent Discussion Document  which proposes replacing the template of the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)/Annual Training Report (ATR), which is currently Annexure 2 of the SETA Grant Regulations with a modified instrument referred to as the Workplace Skills Survey (WSS).  I believe this is a step in the right direction to streamline and simplify the process of submitting employer information around the training and development of our employees.

In closing, on the matter of litigation brought by BUSA to challenge the change in the mandatory grant payment from 50% to only 20% of employer’s 1% skills development levy, as always we bring you the latest regarding the matter.

As a reminder, the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) dismissed with costs the appeal by the Minister of Higher Education and Training against the original judgment granted in BUSA’s favour in 2015. This is as a result of a series of court processes where the appeal by the Minister was lodged late, it lapsed and then there was an application for condonation for late filing of the record by the Minister.

Key elements of the LAC decision are as follows:

  • The Labour Court’s decision to set aside the “sweeping mechanism” created by Regulation 3(12) stands. The DHET communicated to SETAs in December 2017 to abide by the LAC decision in relation to removal of the sweeping mechanism.
  • The Labour Court’s judgment setting aside the original Regulation 4(4), which reduced the mandatory grant from 50% to 20%, still stands.
  • The Labour Appeal Court found that the Minister’s failure to consult the National Skills Authority was insufficient on its own to dismiss the appeal.

The matter currently before the court:

This appeal does not, however, dispose of the ‘re-promulated’ Regulation 4(4) that was made by the Minister last year. BUSA challenged the review regarding Regulation 4(4), made by the Minister in 2016, and has sought to obtain a declaratory order confirming that the 50% mandatory grant remains in force. This review application is still pending in court and the date of set down was 27 March 2018.

The State Law Advisors requested a postponement and therefore the matter was postponed on 27 March 2018. When the parties attended court on 27 March 2018, there was an agreement to engage on the merits of the matter.  The Registrar is to set the matter down for hearing on the earliest date possible, which is 2 August 2018.

Regulation 4(4) Regulation 3(12)
Regulation 4(4) of the 2012 Grant Regulations reduced the mandatory grant that an employer could claim back from 50% to 20% of the total levies paid by the employer. The 2012 Grant Regulations also introduced “the sweeping mechanism” which is that if a SETA has not spent at least 95 % of its discretionary funds, the surplus will be “swept” into the National Skills Fund on 01 October of each year. This sweeping mechanism was a completely new concept which was not contained in the 2005 Grant Regulations.

I trust that this mailer has been of value to you and invite anyone to contact me should you have any further questions.

Menet Hamel can help you institute a learnership in your company.

* Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications, including trades, on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF). The QCTO also offers guidance to skills development providers who must be accredited by the QCTO to offer occupational qualifications.

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