You can regard this report as mere speculation or scenario building, and your decision can have rather serious implications for the survival of your learning institution if you own one or is employed by one. In the “interesting” times in which we live it is very important to keep track of the changes in our environment and to do contingency planning to ensure the survival of your business. I an article entitled “Red Lights flashing for SETA’s” Annelie Lotriet, Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training, expressed the view that SETA’s are on the brink of being closed down. You can read the details at Alternatively you can find a link to this web site on

Did you notice that SETAs  (all of them, not only the ones that never provided a professional service anyway) seem to be in a state of stupor? They don’t seem to care any longer. Phone them, chances are very good that you will find nobody to answer the phone. Apply for accreditation; they will find a lame excuse why they cannot help you. Ask for a verification visit, they don’t come. Ask for an appointment, nobody wants to speak to you. This, together with Annelie Lotriet’s article triggers off the alarm bells in my mind.

So, let’s do some scenario building. What will be the consequences if the SETAs are closed down? To begin with learnerships will be something of the past until such time as some other organisation can pick up the pieces, and years can go by before this happens. Secondly, accreditation of unit standard-based learning programmes will come to a standstill, and with the QCTO not functioning properly yet this can bring growth in especially workplace-based learning to a standstill. Keep in mind that only a handful of new curriculums have been written for occupational learning programmes, so the rest will probably just die a sudden death. Thirdly, the PLRD (SETA/ETQA access programmes to the NLRD) will implode, so it will no longer be possible to enter learner data and credits in the NLRD. It does not take much imagination to see that the demise of the SETAs will also be the end of private providers as we know them.

This paragraph is my personal opinion and, therefore, mere speculation. I am of the opinion that the Minister will probably establish offices run by his representatives at public FET Colleges to take over the functions of the SETAs, or at least some of the functions, which might include the large majority of quality assurance functions, currently fulfilled by what is left of the ETQAs.  We can build yet another scenario around this. In a nutshell this will mean that public FET Colleges will “take over” all learnerships (they actually already did) and private learning institutions will be at their mercy (they already are). We also know that many public FET Colleges are not professional, so you can imagine that they will use private learning institutions as scapegoats for their deficiencies and inability to perform.

So, what can us private learning institutions do about this? To begin with we need to stop putting so much pressure on the SETAs. We are partially to blame for their predicament, although one can argue that they were asking for it by not performing as they should have. Secondly, the APPETD should do a proper analysis of the situation and develop a strategic plan for the future of private ETD in South Africa. Thirdly, don’t panic and just close your institution down – embrace the adventure and use your creativity, intelligence and drive to identify the opportunities in the situation, and ride the wave.

Dr Hannes Nel, MD Mentornet

Views: 2069

Replies to This Discussion

Good Morning Hannes (and all the others too)

I think you are right in all you say. I too find the setas to be incompotent in general.  I agree with the idea of planning my future in service of my client. This is what I am actually doing now. Well, for the past 10 years to be exact.  I am also a training provider and only do training to answer to the needs of my clients. This bring skills to the company as they need it to be able to do their job.  And I think this is where we will be going in future. My client needs my training, I find out what he needs and I train accordingly.  Closing down the setas???  Well, I do not know if this will happen soon. There will be too many people out of a job and this will make the system/government look bad.  Maybe they will keep the setas going just to "create jobs".  That something must happen with and to the setas, is true. They cannot continue like thety are now.  On the other hand, there are setas that are trying to do something positive but I think too many of the seta employees has no idea about the working of their sector but they are making decisions about what must happen there.  Communication between setas, SDFs and providers is also something that needs urgent attention.  I think the answer, for me, is that I can think, I can work, I am willing to do both and therefore I will survive.  Regards


Hi Hannes

Mmmm, I often am quite wary of responding to the posts on Skills Universe due to never being quite sure on how comments will be taken.  So here goes, short and sweet.

In the last month, I have had 5 Seta Visits for my clients, all by Verifiers who were respectful, diligent and even managed to teach me a thing or two (I digress for a moment, I am an ex-Verifier myself and thought I knew everything).

Yes there are a lot of changes going on, some uncertain for our Country, our learners and the various Institutions and Providers.  I've being seeing a huge improvement on the service, ETQA controls and learner achievements being issued currently and this has been most refreshing.

Yes, I am a very positive person (you need to be if you are involved in our industry) - I have a humble suggestion to everyone out there.

If each one of us take responsibility and ensure that whatever service we are offering, we are doing it to the best of our ability.  We conduct ourselves in an honourable, professional, service driven manner surely then as a collective, we will all succeed. 

Just a suggestion...



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