13 January 2005


The National Skills Development Strategy is aimed at transforming education and training in South Africa by improving the quality and quantity of training. It has been established in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998. The NSDS aims at transforming the labour market from one with a low skills base to one based on rising skills and a commitment to long life learning. It seeks to address the national, sectoral, workplace and individual needs.

The NSDS has adopted a two-prong approach to the problem of skills shortage. On the one hand, it envisages addressing the skill shortage problem through shot-term measures intended to address immediate shortages and on the other hand, it has developed long-term measures to address the structural problems in the labour market. In this regard, government had adopted, among others, the following measures:

Facilitating the placement of new entrants in the labour market through learnerships and internships

Facilitating the recruitment of skilled foreign workers in areas of critical skills shortages, while ensuring the concurrent development of South Africans in those fields

Providing career guidance, and counselling to school leavers to assist them to pursue further studies in fields that are relevant to the needs of the economy

Fast tracking the implementation of HRD strategy by all government departments

The implementation of the NSDS is the responsibility of the National Skills Fund (NSF) and the Sector and Training Authorities (SETAs).

The SETAs are responsible for developing sector skills plans, approving, registering and promoting learnerships, quality assuring training and administering levies and grants. They are funded though the 1% levy paid by employers. SETAs disburse mandatory grants on the receipt of workplace skills plans and implementation reports of employers.


Sine 1994, various government departments have undertaken various training initiatives, both nationally and provincially. These initiatives were fragmented and uncoordinated. The establishment of the Public Service SETA (PSETA) is aimed at introducing coordination and coherence in the provision of training. The mission of the PSETA commits it to "The development of a co-ordinated framework for ensuring the provision of appropriate and adequate public service education and training implementation which will meet the current and future needs of the public service".

The public service is by far the biggest employer and the most complex organisational system in the country. The last eleven years have been characterised by policy making and legislative reform. One of the central policy objectives of government is the reconstruction of human resources.

The needs of the public service have changed dramatically in the post apartheid era. Government has the responsibility to deliver services to a much larger client base. The transformation of the pubic sector requires not only changing the equity profile of the civil servants, but also the culture of service delivery.


Challenges facing PSETA