Three Sector Education and Training Authorities, for Safety and Security (SASSETA), Public Service (PSETA) and Transport (TETA) briefed the Committee on their performance and progress made in preventing job losses in light of the current economic downturn. It was noted that there would shortly be an inter-SETA conference at which it was hoped to address challenges of working together more effectively.
SASSETA noted in particular that it had two levy-paying private sector chambers, whilst its government department chambers were exempt from paying levies. Its income in 2008/09 had been more than R185 million, with an expenditure of 81.4%. Since 2005 it had exceeded its targets in the areas of training of employed and unemployed learners. Its programmes were described, including the training for the Security Cluster action plan for the 2010 World Cup. It had entered a partnership with the Department of Public Works to support emerging training providers in Safety and Security programmes. It had upheld consistent performance levels, as measured by the Department of Labour. It had also maintained a good learner placement rate, particularly within government departments. SASSETA did not think that the Safety and Security sector was at risk of shedding jobs. However, it supported parties who voluntarily gave notice to access the training lay-off scheme, and would facilitate training lay-off provisions, and would assist in identifying transferable skills to other sub-sectors, and would provide an advisory service to affected employees. It was trying to broaden its reach in different provinces. Members asked about vetting processes, whether the SETA would train military veterans, what assistance the SETA was providing to the private security industry and what impact this had made on black-owned security companies, who did the audit, and who were training providers.
PSETA noted that it was not a levy income-based SETA but operated through an allocation from National Treasury via the Department of Public Service and Administration. Its allocation for 2009/10 was only R21 million. It had experienced challenges, especially with regards to the management of its funds, and was looking into finding another funding model as it was the poorest-funded SETA. It aimed to meet the current and future Public Sector needs for skilled, competent workers, through effective coordination, education and training. It covered all national and provincial departments and some parastatals. Although it did not believe that the training lay-off scheme was applicable to the public service sector, it nonetheless would assist in reaching the objectives of the scheme, by developing skills of those employees who might be affected in other sectors. R5 million in the Discretionary Fund would be applied to this purpose. It would also partner with the Local Government SETA (LGSETA) in adopting a municipality, with a view to assessing competency levels, entered partnerships with other SETAs, would investigate Recognition of Prior Learning, and would partner with Further Education and Training Colleges for placements, as well as work with the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to find skilled people who had not done trade tests, but been retrenched, to help them to do the tests and be redeployed to other departments. Members asked whether government posts that were frozen should not be filled.
TETA, having experienced difficulties in 2006/07, had now achieved two consecutive unqualified audit certificates, and maintained the highest score in corporate governance. It covered eight chambers in the transport sector. It had direct representation in three provinces and indirect in the other six. The manner in which it worked was described. Its performance highlights and levels of support were described. TETA had set aside R11.8 million for the Training Lay-Off Scheme. Some of the specific training schemes were outlined, including a bus operator Training Project, training of drivers in the taxi industry, drivers for the Gautrain and for other 2010 transport, and its collaborative efforts with networks and enterprise development entities. Members asked whether this SETA would assist in training drivers in etiquette, whether it had specific programmes for disabled drivers, how many drivers had been trained, whether the short train-driver training period was being addressed, how many women bus drivers had completed the learnerships.
Members also asked all SETAs to explain their communication strategy, to what extent labour brokers were involved in skills development, what they were doing to come up with a comprehensive response to job losses, and who decided upon targets and criteria.
Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) briefings:
Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA)
Mr Zonge Baloyi, Chief Executive Officer, SASSETA, said that SASSETA emerged out of an amalgamation of two former SETAs, and was established with a specific focus on the new redefined sector of Safety and Security. SASSETA had 84 staff members in total, of whom 35% were male, 65% female and 4% people with disabilities. There were 28 board members who were elected by the seven different chambers (legal, corrections, defence, policing, justice, intelligence, private security). Each chamber elected four board members, being two from organised labour and two from employers. Funding was allocated with a split of 29% to private security; 24% to legal; 18% to policing; 9% to defence; 8% to corrections; 8% to justice and 4% to security intelligence. The levy-paying private sector chambers were the private security and legal chambers. The rest, being government departments, were exempt from paying levies in terms of the skills development legislation. For the 2008/09 financial year, SASSETA had a total income of more than R185 million, with an expenditure of 81.4%. For the 2007/08 financial year, its total income stood at R171 million, with expenditure at 90.1%. SASSETA’s spending on administration fell within the 10% requirement of the Skills Development Levy Act. It had paid out 74.6% towards mandatory grants and 90.1% towards discretionary grants. In line with Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Skills Development Act (SDA) it placed strong emphasis on the prudent administration of funds. Since this SETA’s establishment it had received unqualified audit opinions from the Auditor-General. SASSETA’s performance since 2005 had exceeded its targets in the areas of training of employed and unemployed learners. Other areas needed to be worked on but it felt confident that, given the way the figures stood, it would reach these targets. For the year 2007/08, 187 large; 113 medium and 204 small firms received grants. For the year 2008/09, 166 large, 129 medium and 238 small firms received grants. In terms of its learning programmes supporting government priorities, SASSETA had programmes aligned to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster. Part of the priority there was the transformation of the Criminal Justice System.
In terms of improving the efficiency of the courts, it had implemented the Court Services Management Learnership in which Court Managers were trained to deal with Court administration. It had also implemented the Court Interpreting Learnership, which aimed to assist members of the public to better access the Court system in their preferred language. The Family Law Learnership focused on issues relating to women and children. Transformation of the legal profession was also a key area being addressed by SASSETA. It had, in this regard, contributed towards the Candidate Attorney Programme and the Law Enforcement Sheriff Learnership. In the area of crime prevention, SASSETA had accredited the National Basic Policing Certificate which was linked to government’s proposed expansion of SAPS personnel to 180 000 over the next two years. It had also implemented the Resolving of Crime Learnership and the Forensic Science Learnership, the latter to boost the forensic capabilities of the SAPS in dealing with crime investigations. It also supported Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that were operating within the area of crime prevention, including support for the development of Community Policing Forums. With regard to law enforcement operations, SASSETA was responsible for accrediting firearm training providers as well as certifying learners who were trained in terms of the firearms unit standards. The regulation of the Private Security Industry was a key area for SASSETA. The system of Grade Training was to move towards a SASSETA-accredited NQF-aligned qualification. This was being done in order to professionalise the private security industry. SASSETA had also assisted the Department of Correctional Services in implementing the White Paper on Corrections through the introduction of the Corrections Science Learnership and the Auxiliary Social Work Learnership. These were programmes aimed at improving the rehabilitation of offenders in correctional institutions.
In addition to its learning programmes within the National Intelligence Agency, SASSETA also facilitated training for military veterans. The National Skills Fund (NSF) funded an amount of R6 million, which had been spent on training of these veterans throughout the country. SASSETA also supported the SAPS in the accreditation of Training providers.
With regard to the FIFA 201 World Cup, SASSETA funded the training component of the Security Cluster Department 2010 Action Plan, as well as ensuring the development of learning material for the 2010 Security Steward Programme. In addition, it also funded the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s 2010 Volunteer Programme for mobile courts that would be functioning in the host cities.
In terms of ensuring priority skills for the economy (particularly those areas identified by Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) and Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), SASSETA implemented the artisan/apprenticeship programmes in the Departments of Defence, Policing and Correctional Services. It had also been involved in pilot training for the Departments of Defence and Police. Here it had been the first SETA to produce the first black woman helicopter pilot.
With regards to Second Economy interventions, SASSETA had contributed to the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) by entering into partnership with the Department of Public Works to support emerging training providers in diversifying their training towards Safety and Security programmes. SASSETA had also contributed towards implementing Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programmes within the Safety and Security sector, though the challenges it faced here were still similar to what other SETAs were experiencing in this area.
In relation to good governance and equity, the sector had largely been male-dominated. SASSETA had, however, done well in ensuring that there was greater gender equality in the figures of learners who completed its programmes. There still, however, remained a challenge around addressing the issue of people with disabilities. In responding to the Skills Audit of the security cluster, SASSETA had implemented capacity building programmes for training committees in the security cluster departments. It has also commissioned a study into the impact of HIV/AIDS and its implications for skills requirements in the Safety and Security sector. It was also looking at a plan to implement the recommendations of this research. SASSETA had, in terms of its achievements, upheld consistent performance levels (as measured by the Department of Labour). It had also maintained a good learner placement rate, particularly within government departments. It also had the recognition of Institutes of Service and Occupational Excellence as well as sound internally-managed functions.
With regard to the training lay-off scheme, SASSETA felt that the Safety and Security sector was not at risk of shedding jobs. Anticipated growth in Government spending on Safety and Security stood at 10.9% for Police, Prisons and Courts and 5.8% for Defence and Intelligence. The spill-over effects of this included increased employment and demand for learning programmes. It would also result in a higher rate of learner placement into government employment. Though SASSETA had engaged the legal and private security sectors - as these were the only sectors likely to be affected - the indication was that there was no clarity as yet regarding the impact of the economic downturn on these sectors. Both these chambers wanted their constituencies to further consult on the Training Lay-Offs Guideline and agreed to form a committee to explore this matter further. SASSETA supported parties who voluntarily gave notice to access the training lay-off scheme as well as supporting the mass-communications strategy that focussed on the Safety and Security industry. It would also facilitate training provisions, as well as provide assistance to affected employers in aligning Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) with training lay-offs. It would also fund the necessary training costs and provide learnership grants. Other strategies SASSETA intends implementing included the identification of transferable skills to occupations that were in demand in other Safety and Security sub-sectors and the marketing of dislocated workers to other private or public employers. It also intends to provide an on-site one-stop advisory service for affected employees. Anticipated outcomes included re-employment, job-retention, better skilled employees and a minimal impact in terms of the economic downturn. In terms of the future, SASSETA had been given strong support from its various stakeholders regarding its application for re-certification. It had also submitted its 2010/11 strategic plan to the Department of Labour. SASSETA was also looking at broadening its reach in different provinces.
Mr W Madisha (COPE) asked what was being done to ensure that members of the police and correctional services treated people respectfully. He also asked what SASSETA had done regarding the amount of armaments in the hands of the Private Security Industry, and what it had done to ensure the working together of government and Private Security Industry in the re-licensing of firearms.
Mr Baloyi responded that SASSETA had placed emphasis on frontline service. To this end it had established a call centre, which made it easier for people to access information. Because SASSETA was not a regulatory body, but responsible for the delivery of training, the issue of armaments was not within SASSETA's mandate.
Mr E Mtshali (ANC) asked what SASSETA did when former Apartheid agents, who were now members of the private security industry, came to the SETA for further training. He asked, in regard to military veterans, whether SASSETA trained individuals, or veteran associations, and whether it would assist police in training to conduct investigations and, if so, if it offered skills training or waited for members to approach it.
Mr Baloyi answered that there were vetting processes in place to ensure that those who entered training had the proper credentials.
The Chairperson asked what assistance the SETA was providing to the private security industry and what impact this had made on black-owned security companies. She also asked who did the skills audit in order to ascertain where those who were trained were moving after their training.
Mr Baloyi answered that while the private security industry was still largely white male-dominated, a distinction needed to be drawn between private Security employers whom it supported in skills development and private security training providers. SASSETA was adhering to National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) indicators. The five chambers in SASSETA developed their own skills audit.
The Chairperson asked who the training providers were.
Mr Baloyi answered that there were both privately-owned training providers (who had to meet SASSETA’s criteria in order to be accredited) as well as public training providers (such as police colleges nationally).
The Chairperson asked whether the providers were monitored in terms of the training they provided.
Mr Baloyi answered that SASSETA had a monitoring and evaluation process in place. If a provider was found to be non-compliant, SASSETA would withdraw its accreditation.
Public Service Education and Training Authority (PSETA) briefing
Mr Johannes Rantethe, Acting CEO, PSETA, said that PSETA’s current tenure was from 01 July 2005 to 31 March 2010. It was not a levy income-based SETA but operated through an allocation from National Treasury via the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), which provided mainly for employee compensation and operations and not for training implementation. For 2009/10, the allocation amounted to only R21 million. As it was operating under the DPSA it had initiated the process towards standing on its own. It had experienced challenges, especially with regards to the management of its funds. An official who was found to be involved in fraudulent activities had been arrested and was currently serving a jail term. It was also looking into finding another funding model as it was the poorest-funded SETA.
PSETA’s vision was to meet the current and future Public Sector needs for skilled, competent workers through the effective provision of quality-assured, relevant and accessible education and training. Its mission was to develop a dedicated, skilled and productive Public Service workforce through the effective coordination of skills development, continued education, learnerships and training programmes for workers in the Public Sector. It covered all national and provincial departments, the Departments of Trade and Industry and of Foreign Affairs. There were also parastatals, and other national departments. The main parastatals were the National Nuclear Regulator, the Competition Tribunal, the Gauteng Partnership Trust and the European Union (EU) Legislatures Support Programme.
With regard to the Training Lay-Off Scheme, PSETA felt that it would not necessarily apply to the Public Service sector. Most institutions which fell under its scope of coverage were not facing distress as described in the scheme. PSETA did, however, have a role to play in advancing the objectives of the scheme – especially in developing the skills of those employees who would potentially be affected by the lay-offs, even in other sectors. It had identified R5 million in its Discretionary Fund, which it would allocate in responding to this initiative. It viewed the scheme as one that should extend beyond the three-month period. Its planned intervention was therefore to ensure that the targeted employees be employed or re-employed. PSETA’s intervention plan consisted of identifying distress levels among its parastatals, with a view towards supporting the training of affected employees. This survey was currently being carried out and would be completed by end-October 2009. It also intended to partner with the Local Government SETA (LGSETA) in adopting a municipality, to assist in addressing complaints that arose out of the recent service delivery protests, with a view to assessing competency levels within these municipalities. This agreement would be concluded by mid-October 2009. It also intended to partner with the Energy SETA to adopt ten small electrical contractors that were in distress, with a view to assisting them in applying for scheme funding through the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). An agreement with this SETA was to be finalised by mid-October 2009. It was also looking into requesting proposals for all National and Provincial Departments that might have challenges of supernumerary employees (those who had qualifications but could not be slotted into existing structures) who could be re-skilled. Proposals were to reach PSETA by 23 October 2009.
It was also looking into the issue of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for redirecting skills development. This project would be implemented in staggered phases, depending on the responses received. It would further partner with Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges in order to link learners completing the National Certificate with departments for placement. The survey would be completed by end-October 2009. It was also intending to partner with other SETAs to use the sector for workplace learning to provide the necessary skills. PSETA would also be working together with the CCMA to determine the skilled people who had not done trade tests and been retrenched. PSETA would support in helping them to do these trade tests and avail them for employment by those departments that were in need of their particular skills. Its Sector Skills Plan would help target such employees. The projected time of completion for this was set for end-September 2009. The timeframe for the completion of the preliminary investigation was end-October 2009.
The intention behind the RPL strategy was to re-skill and up-skill workers by officially recognising the skills that these workers had gained through their life experience. These officially recognised workers would be re-directed to sectors that had not been severely affected by the economic recession. Those who were up-skilled could be redeployed to levels that required higher skills. They would also be encouraged to go the route of self-employment. It was also to partner with other sectors who had identified focus areas and had the requisite skills to jointly fund such a project. The structures used to support this plan were, firstly, the Grant Disbursement Fund (an amount of R5 million), the Grant Disbursement Policy (which needed to be amended to incorporate support for the scheme) and the Training Lay-Off Implementation Committee (which would oversee the implementation of the plan).
Mr I Ollis (DA) asked whether the government posts that were frozen should not be filled.
Ms T Mabuza, Senior Manager :Skills Development, PSETA, answered that PSETA could not respond to this as a stand-alone issue. It would meet with the Department of Public Service and Administration to establish the blockages in terms of filling those vacancies. It would then focus on the gaps as far as skills and qualifications were concerned.
Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) briefing
Ms Maphefo Matlala, Chief Executive Officer, TETA) said that TETA’s vision was to provide skills for sustainable growth, development and equity within the transport sector. Its mission was to facilitate a framework of learning through a delivery system that would enhance the level of skills within the sector. It was driven by values that sought to have best quality service and maximised value for all stakeholders within the sector. TETA was comprised of eight chambers: maritime, road passengers, road freight, taxi, rail, aerospace and aviation and freight handling. TETA, unlike other SETAs, was not represented in all provinces. It had direct representation in Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town and indirect representation in the remaining six provinces. Indirect representation was sustained through the infrastructure of stakeholders, such as the Department of Labour (where it participated in Provincial Skills Development Forums). It also had skills development structures in other provinces and was trying to maximise its reach in these provinces.
TETA’s mandate in terms of the National Skills Development Strategy was to develop and implement the sector skills plan that had identified critical and scarce skills within the transport sector. It also facilitated high-quality education and training delivery in the workplace by approving the Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Plans (ATP) annually. It then disbursed levies (both mandatory and discretionary grants) within the Transport Sector. In order to ascertain the value added to the sector, TETA continually monitored Education, Training and Development (ETD) activities within the sector. TETA also participated in qualification generation and registration. These activities were benchmarked against international standards. TETA’s objectives were to prioritise and communicate critical and scarce skills within this sector, to assist in achieving sustainable growth, development and equity. It promoted and accelerated quality training for all those in the workplace, and also employability and sustainable livelihoods through skills development. It also assisted designated groups in participating in accredited work, integrated learning and work-based programmes to acquire skills that would allow them to enter the labour market or self-employment ventures. It also aimed to improve the quality and relevance of provision.
Despite the organisation having gone through turbulent times during the 2006/07 financial year, and the resultant negative perceptions of the organisation, TETA had met all its financial obligations. This had led the organisation to reflect upon and review its strategy and policies. The result of this was improved internal controls, a stronger focus on corporate governance and streamlined business processes. It also worked on relationship management with its stakeholders and also improved its website, which it updated regularly. Stakeholder confidence, as well as the organisation’s overall performance, had also improved. Since its inception, TETA had supported 730 large firms, 498 medium firms, 1 432 SMMEs and 442 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) firms. It had also supported a total of 63 740 employed and 8 212 unemployed learners. It had also supported 349 Non-Levy Paying Entities. Since 2005 it had also supported 1 797 learners in gaining exposure to workplace experience, as well as assisting 274 young people in being trained and mentored in forming new ventures. Performance highlights for TETA included a 25% increase in WSP submissions from large firms and a 30% increase from medium firms. Further achievements were outlined in the presentation.
For two consecutive years, TETA had now received an unqualified audit opinion. It also maintained the consistent highest score in corporate governance. TETA’s total revenue for the 2008/09 financial year was R358 million, with expenditure at R262million. Its mandatory grant exposure had significantly increased in the 2008/09 year.
TETA had set aside R11.8 million for the Training Lay-Off Scheme. It had worked closely with government in successfully implementing the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) bus Operator Training Project SABOA, with particular emphasis on school bus operators, 321 of whom had been trained. TETA had also trained 4 198 drivers in the taxi industry. Aside from working closely with the Department of Transport on the R6 million Taxi Training Project, TETA also worked on the accreditation and training of Gautrain drivers, as well as 2010 professional drivers. It also worked closely with the Department of Transport-initiated South African Network of Women in Transport and South African Network of Youth in Transport in order to make sure these groups had access to training and skills development. It had also collaborated with Small Enterprise Development Association, South African Revenue Services, Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office and others on SMME development. Although it had not received any application from companies in distress within its sector, it had set aside R11.8 million in order to deal with potential applications. It had also put together a team of people dedicated to dealing with any potential applications from companies within this sector.
Mrs W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked what TETA had done to train taxi drivers in etiquette. She also asked how it assisted in training employed deaf people in attaining driver’s licenses.
Ms Matlala answered that although the needs regarding service in the taxi industry were larger than the budget permitted, TETA’s professional driving programme had a component that dealt with etiquette. TETA’S programme for professional driving had a component on defensive and practical driving. It did not discriminate on the basis of disability.
Mr A Louw (DA) asked how many people had completed training since 2005. Considering the increased number of train accidents, he also asked what was being done to address the issue of the train driver’s training period being so short.
Ms Matlala answered that for 2008/09, 15 212 completed their learning programmes. TETA worked closely with the Rail Safety Regulator, who had identified some gaps in the present training. It had undertaken a Memorandum of Understanding with the Regulator to ensure that the training provided did not undermine standards nor compromised safety.
Ms Khumalo asked how many women bus drivers had completed the learnerships offered.
Ms Matlala answered that, though she could not provide the necessary figures at this meeting, there were women bus and taxi drivers that had been trained. TETA could provide these figures to the Committee at a later stage.
General Questions addressed to all SETAs
Mrs W Newhoudt-Druchen asked what the SETAs had done to inform people on the ground as to what they did, and the services being offered.
Ms Matlala answered that TETA made use of advertisements in the media (print and radio) as well as face-to-face support. It also relied on its updated website and stakeholder road-shows for this reason.
Ms Mabuza said that PSETA had been participating in a number of exhibitions targeting schools and other learning institutions which focused on information regarding career opportunities in the Public Sector, learnerships and skills programmes.
Mr Ollis asked whether it was correct that no companies in the Transport Sector had applied yet for the training lay-off scheme, but that TETA had set aside money for such an eventuality. He also checked whether TETA believed the three-month learnership period was too short. He asked if they could describe the typical person who would be assisted with re-training once losing their job.
Ms Matlala answered that it was correct that no companies had applied as yet. TETA could provide training to people who were illiterate and unskilled in order to gain basic life skills.
Mr Nyekemba asked to what extent labour brokers were involved in skills development.
Ms Matlala answered that she was not aware of any involvement by labour brokers in skills development in the Transport Sector.
Mr P Chauke (ANC) asked what SETAs were doing to come up with a comprehensive response to job losses.
Ms Matlala said that SETAs had agreed to have an inter-SETA conference, which would run from 30 September to 1 October 2009, in order to work through the issues they were facing. This would lead to a coherent strategy from all SETAs.
The Chairperson asked who decided upon what the targets should be and what the criteria were for meeting these targets.
Ms Matlala answered that the current NSDS had been set up in a consultative way by constituency bodies of employers, employees, members of the community and department officials. Although she was not aware of what informed the NSDS 2 targets, she assumed that it was done in keeping with government priorities.
The meeting was adjourned
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