31 July 1998

Skills Development Bill

The Labour Ministry has tabled a major Bill that will give new impetus to quality training in South Africa. The Skills Development Bill aims to set in motion a skills revolution as the central part of South Africa's drive for growth in employment and productivity.

The Remnants of Apartheid

Under Apartheid learning and working were regarded as separate processes. This is not true at all. One does not stop learning when one starts working. More and more workplaces strive to be learning organisations offering ongoing education and training. Their training programmes reflect their current business priorities and their changing environments and should enable them to keep up with, and move ahead of, competitors.

Large companies worldwide make large investments in research and development. Increasingly they form partnerships with universities and technikons. For too long South Africa was sheltered from this necessity because the Apartheid economy was built behind tariff barriers which made it expensive for other countries to sell their goods and services here. In turn, they made it difficult for us to sell our goods and services outside our borders. Nowadays South African companies are forced to spend more to stay competitive in the marketplace.

South Africa's largest industrial companies continue to spend far less on employee training than their overseas counter-parts, according to a survey by Cape Town based Labour Research Services. Most of them spend only 2,5 per cent of their payroll on training. The international average is between 4 and 7 per cent.

South Africa has a poor skills record because of the poor quality of Apartheid education the majority of our people received, the irrelevance of much of the previous training funded by government and the low level of investments into training by companies. This greatly hampers growth in productivity, new investments and employment opportunities.

Introducing a New Era

The Skills Development Bill will:

Aligning the Bill with the South Africans Qualification Authority Act (SAQA)will:

The objects of the Bill are to:

The Bill also introduces:

Skill Development Planning Unit

The Director-General must establish this Unit which is responsible for coordinating planning for skills development. It will do research and analyse the labour market to determine the skills development needs for the public and private sectors of the economy South Africa as a whole.

Employment Services

The Employment Services Unit will assist workers, employers and training providers and register work-seekers to enter special education programmes, find employment or start self-employment projects. It will also register vacancies and work opportunities. All such services must be registered through the DG.

Dealing with the New Challenges

The ANC Commitment