SETA requirements – are processes designed to frustrate providers? 24

Good day all!!!
Is it just my impatience or you have you guys experienced extreme frustration with the paperwork and process required at SETA’s (I won’t mention names)?
Simple enquiries result in endless telephone calls, follow up emails and eventually physical visits to their offices, only to be turned with one or the other “excuse”.
The result is that one’s needs are not easily met, which has a direct result on one’s ability to sell your service or your business.
Perhaps we should organise ourselves and stage a toyi-toyi demonstration to alert SAQA to the frustrations we face.

Just a thought!
Rochelle Lowa kombou

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24 thoughts on “SETA requirements – are processes designed to frustrate providers?

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    I can vouch for the fact that the process has been reinvented at least five times in the eight years we have been dealing with the Isett Seta and there have been at least six different people appointed to head the QA function during that time. The last one we dealt with lasted a month. Notwithstanding, the CEO seems to have stood the test of time. How come? Is it any wonder we are still waiting for our accreditation certificate after eight years? As is the case with Eleni, we are also degreed to Masters level in business and skills development. I wonder whether the new Minister would be able to recognise where the problem really sits? Or will he also just become part of the problem?

  • Florence Thandi Mabesa

    Hi All
    I am also frustrated by the process that one has to go through to get accreditation. At one of the SETA’s I went through all the stages and submitted all the documents, only yo be told later that I need to add this and that (which was not mentioned during the site visit). I personally believe that SETA’S don’t want to give accrediation to us for reasons which we do not know. However, do not give up. You will succeed one day.

  • Des Squire

    At last something might be done, not that I anticipate the “gods” at some SETAS will take notice. What we seek is human beings at the helm of some SETAS who have the common decency to respond to correspondence. We need employees of the SETAS to be empowered and I might add “permitted” to think for themselves and not be restricted to “check sheets”. SETAS need to realise the providers need assistance and not more work following enquiries. The sooner we move over to QCTO the better.

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    Hi Sylvia. Please go ahead and send it to the new Minister. My own experiences have been mainly with the Isett Seta which do in fact span almost a decade. I have a long documented history with these people which I would be most willing to share with the Minister if he needs substantiated evidence of the gross incompetence, political agendas and other mismanagement that has always been so much a part of that organisation. And, as usual, it starts right at the top. For example, on two occassions – some years apart -I have been personally promised by the CEO (responding to my question to him in a public forum) that we would have our accreditation certificate “within three weeks”. Some years later after yet another set of dealings with yet another team of officials, I received a formal letter from the relevant senior manager at Isett Seta confirming that we have been evaluated and found compliant for accreditation purposes. The letter, dated 01 September 2008, further advises that Isett Seta is in the process of issuing our accreditation certificate. We are still waiting. Over the years, the cost of this incompetence (if that is what it is) – both directly in terms of wasted expenditure and in lost tenders and opportunity cost has become incalculable. So much so in fact that after some thirty successful years in the skills development industry, we are finally chucking in the towel and moving on to business ventures where these bureaucratic parasites are somewhat less in number. Best wishes to those who still have some reserve and willingness to continue this struggle.

  • Desiree Gounden

    Hi I agree that to some extent Seta’s definately lack the professionalism and skills to deal effectively with clients. But i have also dealt with other Seta’s that always exceed themselves in providing a good service.

  • Mabule Matlala

    Sorry Rochelle. I cannot help with tips around SETA requirements or applications. I actually share trhe opinion that their processes are designed to keep most people off by making them so tediously impossible that you will actually give upo at the end. That is why I gave up with SETA many years ago after calling and trying to get into their website to register and getting people that promised to assist and never do when they reach Pretoria and so on. So, if you have a stress free life, try to apply to ant SETA for that matter. Then they claim that there are no skills in RSA and that justifies appointment of foreigner professionals. When South Africans leave the country for greener pastures they call it brain drain. Why is it brain drain because you just claimed that you have no brains within your country? Ag! its just tasteless to say the least.

  • Eleni Cousins

    Hi Sylvia, I would be delighted if Alan could forward these discussions to the Miniser. Rochelle, I’m also so frustrated by the sheer volume of work required that I’m seiously considering getting out of the training industry. By the way, were you aware that your company organogram needs to use different colours?! That level of pettiness makes me want to scream! Not exactly the most constructive use of my 3 degrees. We are ALL highly educated and the fact that we are struggling so much with the process shows that there is something wrong.

  • Nomathemba Emmah Ndongeni

    Someone HEELPP!!!! They’re really frustrating everyone, I mean you send a simple request only to be sent a thick file that you need to complete and God knows what else! So I think toyi-toying will be ideal at this moment.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi to everyone who has contributed to this discussion – there seems to be a consensus agreeing with Rochelle in her assessment of dealing with Setas.
    I see that Brian has suggested an open letter to the new Minister.
    I would like to propose – with your agreement – that I ask our Editor Alan to forward these discussions to the Minister on your behalf.

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    Hi Rochelle, I take this opportunity to welcome you to this mind-blowing experience. Just to give you some context – it has gone on unabated for 10 years. Rather than go toyi-toying might I suggest an open letter to the new Minister in response to his recent public comments about going to war with the Capitalists and a third force being behind service delivery demos. Perhaps it could be pointed out to him that most of his team in the SETA movement has been in a high-intensity guerrilla war with the Capitalists for a decade. Perhaps he could also be made aware that most capitalists actually have very little difficulty with rational tax proposals. Rather, it is the legions of unqualified, incompetent and greedy preditors who spend it all so badly, mostly on themselves, that wets peoples batteries including those of his own constituants. The SETA movement is one such assembly and its immediate demise is long overdue – unless, of course, he is able to make a silk purse from a sows ear. Sorry that the news is so bad but the truth is that small private training providers have been in serious trouble in this country for many years now and their future is not looking much brighter at this time – despite various attempts at organised response.

  • Liane Regnard

    Hi All
    I think we need to be careful and not generalize here.
    Yes I too have had some very frustrating dealings with a variety of Setas but I have also had some excellent service from those very same Seta’s.
    Often the problem / frustration (for want of a better word) lies with a particular individual and their inability to do their work to the standard that is expected. It could be due to a lack of training or a negative attitude to their job.
    I believe that doing a demonstration will not achieve much, other than to give the Seta’s more reason to have a negative attitude towards providers and stakeholders. I believe if you receive good service acknowledge it with the relevant persons. If you receive poor service do the same – but do not complain, as you will be placed in file 13 – rather offer constructive criticism in a good light.
    Getting to know the people you need to deal with also helps.

  • ingridartus

    Hi Rochelle, as confirmed by all the responses to your ordeal, you’ve touched on a real area of concern for most of us service providers. My business partner and I have sent in our paperwork for assessor and moderator registration to our particular SETA in Dec 2008 – It is still in process! This delay is a real business hurdle as you’ve noted. We just want to get out there and do the work, but delayed bureacracy and a seemingly no-care, passive attitude from this SETA is stiffling business growth. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the SETA administrators become passionate about their work, motivated and inspired to play a role in the bigger picture of South Africa’s skills development? Wishing you all the best Rochelle – from a sister who knows your frustrations.
    Dr. Ingrid Artus
    Rubyfish Health Risk Solutions

  • Thembi Ngema

    Hi Rochelle

    You are not the only one, we are experiencing the same frastration, my business partner applied to be registered as a moderator in January this year and I have applied in April this year, u’ll never believe that we have not yet received the outcome of the application upto today. When you call SSETA, you are forever on hold, transfered from this line to the next, and the next things they will be telling you that they have not heard from the service provider responsible for the accreditation. We were even planning to consider other SETA’s for registration.


  • hlengiwe shandu

    My dear it is very hard cause sometimes you seek for help to them ,cause they are so many paper work that you dont understand worse, they dont know themselves and quite suprizing then you have to find your self .

  • Pat Pillay

    Hi Rochelle,
    I have previously shared my thoughts on my personal experiences with the SETA and it was not good, to say the least.Communication, bureaucratic processes were just a couple to mention.The roles of the SETA`s need to more clearly defined and more road-shows need to be conducted to raise awareness of their roles and their contribution to companies.SAQA should host focus groups and invite reps from the various sectors to engage in meaningful workshops to address concerns and strategize action plans going forward.The operative words are action and meeting dead-lines.A good example of my discontent are applications for Discretionary grants.It is an administrative nightmare.

  • George Fourie

    Hi Rochelle,

    I share your frustration. I can truly say that not not inquiry put to the door of the HWSETA or in a way also to the MQA was dealt with successfully. Not to mention any assistance or guidance.
    Threats, meaningless paperwork and excuses like restructuring, still in process, ect, is in the the only responds if any.

    Good luck


  • Linda Ingram

    Hi Rochelle

    Be rest assured – you are not alone in the world. Your message accurately reflects what many providers feel when dealing with some of the SETAs. My company (the Open Learning Group) has experience with working with many of the ETQA’s from Umalusi to at least 5 of the different SETA’s. The W&R SETA comes out tops in my books.

    I was fortunate enough to attend a worshop last week where our Dr Blade Nzimande was a keynote speaker. It was made very clear that he is aware of the challenges that providers are facing and is willing to listen to proposals from our sector. As you can expect, the deadline for restructing the SETA’s is coming closer and closer and already indications are that the changes will be delayed.

    So for now it seems as though we have to “bite the bullet” and deal with the bureaucratic systems in place and wait for Dr Nzimande to wave his magic wand in 2010.

    All the best
    Linda Ingram
    Open Learning Group
    Director: Operations & Marketing

  • Christopher McCreanor

    I am the chairperson for the NISOE in the Western Cape. You should contact the NISOE and highlight your issues with the NISOE and become active members of the NISOE. We have a national Meeting on Wednesday and your representatives should take your registrations issues up. Please visit the following link if you have not attended any of the meetings as a provider:

    The Western Cape will soon have the first NISOE meeting and I would like to invite all members and non-members to attend the meeting set out to identify and highlight the endless issues discussed in all your comments.

    I look forward to meeting with the Western Cape Providers!


    Christopher McCreanor
    Chairperson – NISOE Western Cape

  • Karen Sakko

    I registered with a SETA 2 yrs ago and when I enquired they had lost my documents. so I re-applied about 4 months ago and they were going to fast-track it. Well, here I am still waiting. It really is frustrating.

  • Dorothy Vieira

    I must agree with the general sentiments expressed here! I feel that the saddest part of it all is that the very people who should benefit from the spirit of this framework are being further disadvantaged due to all the beauracratic “red tape” providers are put through. The issue is:- how do we go about addressing this in a constructive way. I feel that as in all instances, unity is strength. Perhaps forming some kind of body or forum who can represent the needs of the larger group may be a way to go? Happy to explore alternatives. Thanks for a great post on a topic that clearly causes huge frustration.

  • Leana Liebenberg


  • Neil Harrison

    Unfortunately you are experiencing what we have all been burdened with since its inception. As a training company, we steer away from learnerships purely because of the bureaucracy surrounding them.
    Standard businesses (non training) would not tolerate what we have to go through.

  • Nigel Shipston

    Hi Rochelle,
    Not uncommon experience for a provider, in fact probably more likely than not.

    But when you consider that the people at the ETQA’s who “process” applications have little or no provider experience, no proper qualification to evaluate providers and little discretionary ability, this is the net result. You might note that I have recently posed the question as to why assessors, moderators and external moderators/verifiers undergo stringent requirements before they can practice, but few if any of the ETQA Practitioners are required to be qualified (see Unit Standard 15191), nor does it seem necessary that they have any experience in running a business, let alone a training provider. Does this answer your question as to why your needs are not easily met?

    I have over the years brought these frustrations to the attention of SAQA, but it seems that the ETQA Managers are somehow able to placate SAQA into believing that the situation is not as serious as it sounds. Hopefully the imminent changes will address some of these problems, as long as someone takes note of the need to have experienced and skilled practitioners dealing with provider accreditation and assessor & moderator registration.
    Nigel Shipston