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LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECT COMMITTEE
2 September 2003
SETA AMENDMENT: BRIEFING
Documents handed out
Acting Chairperson: Mr B Tolo (ANC)
The Department announced the possible establishment of a new agency to assist SMME's to benefit more from the skills levy and resulting training opportunities. The agency was envisaged to safeguard SMME interests and interact on their behalf with other relevant bodies.
Mr Morotoba, Senior Executive Manager, SETA co-ordination, Department of Labour briefed the Committee extensively on issues ranging from the historical context of the National Qualifications Forum and Skills Development legislation to the current efforts to limit corruption and inefficiency within SETA's . South Africa had many unemployed graduates who were not suitably qualified to meet the immense need for highly skilled personnel, this illustrated the need to harmonise education and training with skills requirements in South African industry.
Due to time constraints the Committee was unable to thoroughly discuss the extensive presentation provided by the Department of Labour.
Ms C Botha (Free State, DA) asked how a bureaucracy could determine future skills requirements better than industries themselves. A very specialised research component was required to do this and SAQA was not that body.
Mr S Morotoba said industry skills plans were needed to indicate future skills requirements and integrate them with state planning. It was important to communicate industry requirements to training providers to ensure that they were accommodated.
Mr Morotoba said the department was aware that racism and favouritism existed in the education sector. This only increased the need for proper moderation and Quality Assurance (QA). QA authorities must take greater responsibility for their jurisdictions.
Mr M Bhengu (Kwa Zulu Natal IFP) said in his constituency training providers were setting up schools in the home without a uniform curricula, and facilitators and tutors were not adequately qualified. Why did only existing schools receive accreditation? Schools should be accredited before they were allowed to open.
Mr Morotoba said he would like to see a better regulated environment. The department needed to balance regulation with sensitivity not to limit emerging providers in the market. AIDS had enhanced the need for more, home based care institutions and they should be encouraged to come into the fold of existing regulations.
Mr Morotoba said in cases of under performance the minister was allowed to intervene in the running of SETA's. He said the minister could determine a salary more proportionate to the level of performance of CEO's in cases of under performance. Mr Morotoba said this underlines the departments will to ensure a successful skills development programme.
Ms C Nkuna (ANC) said the committee appreciated the efforts of the minister to inform the community of the department's activities. She asked whether the department used the radio to inform the masses as this would alleviate the need to constantly clarify inaccurate public perceptions.
Mr Morotoba said radio had been used extensively as a means of communication however the costs involved were an inhibiting factor. He agreed with Ms Nkuna that South Africa needed to increase the beneficiation of raw products and take advantage of higher prices for refined goods.
Mr Morotoba said labour and business representatives served on SETA boards, which had discretionary decision making authority, therefore government could not be blamed for their under spending.
Ms Botha said it seemed unfair to create a learnership agency if it would only cost SMME's more money.
Mr Morotoba said the agency would not be an additional cost. He said the levy had been criticised before for not being SMME friendly. Mr Morotoba said the agency would interact on behalf of SMME's with SARS and other bodies to ensure they receive value for their money and to safeguard their interests. He added the department wanted to avoid SMME's subsidising bigger companies.
The meeting was adjourned.
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