Services Seta wins court case 18



The labour court has granted an application by the Services Seta (sector education and training authority) to have a constitution and board imposed on it by higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande declared unlawful.

The application, which was upheld with costs, sets aside Dr Nzimande’s appointment of Dr Sihle Moon, Shakeel Ori and Nolwande Mantashe as independent chairperson and ministerial appointees to the Services Seta council.

The ruling recognises the Seta’s 2002 constitution as valid and confirms Bev Jack (Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector) and Leon Grobler (UASA) as the legitimate chair and vice- of the Seta council.

The suspension, by Dr Moon, of Services Seta chief executive officer Dr Ivor Blumenthal was deemed unlawful and the latter is reinstated with immediate effect.

Tomorrow, the Services Seta will apply to the same court to overturn Dr Nzimande’s decision last week to place the authority under Dr Moon’s administration and have the contents of its bank accounts transferred immediately to the National Skills Fund.


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18 thoughts on “Services Seta wins court case

  • Lynette Barbara Myers

    I have been out of the country since 26th April so was unaware of developments surrounding Services Seta. The simple fact is that Services Seta compares very poorly with most of the other setas. Trying to gain accreditation as a faciliator, assessor, moderator or provider are all fraught with problems. Perhaps  this cumbersome elephant of a body it needs to be split up into  “digestible ” portions. How can  the skill of cake baking be lumped along with interpreting financial statements ? 

  • Shaun Higley

    At what cost? Where did Minister Nzimande get the finances to take on the Services Seta as we certainly know where the SETA took there finances from.  Two years ago I did my last stint for the Services Seta as I was not being paid by them when I completed their WSPs. I also noted they only called me to complete forms far out of the area I resided in. And finally they had clients who were paying millions of rands in levies who could not claim their Mandatory Grants back. No exemptions were made for them.


    I have noted the slow demise of the Services Seta but it came as a shock to me when Government tried to step in.  I became ill after I completed my last WSP for them and will only return to work this month. 


    My greatest shock is the minister once again interfering with the system. This time CETA. I see it was noted they were placed under administration today. I blame their demise on the Government directly. The construction industry has far too many emerging companies and no support is in place for the larger firms. The smaller firms are not compelled to do training or belong to the CIDB or even the Bargaining Council. There is absolutely no control and you can join by just paying a fee to the CIDB. Your employees are daily casuals and you can pay what you like.


    The larger firms are heavily controlled and virtually find their spendings too high and their dividend too low, eventually putting themselves out of business altogether.


    If the SETAs did not exist at all, and the ANC was in total control of skills in the country, would we be as far as we are today in the recognition of Scarce and Critical Skill shortages and what has happened in many a field to improve previous atrocities.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    A view from Patrick Craven – from Cosatu Today 5.5.11

    COSATU calls for transformation of education and training

    Patrick Craven, COSATU National Spokesperson, 5 May 2011

    While respecting yesterday’s court judgment, COSATU fully supports the transformation of the education and training landscape which is being driven by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training.

    It is critically important to challenge the neoliberal philosophy and practices that have poisoned the education and training landscape. Inequality, joblessness, skills shortages and poverty will not be tackled unless a transparent, coherent and integrated strategy is developed.

    It is our firm view that an effective growth and development strategy can only succeed by centrally addressing the question of human resource development and practical skills development. Relying upon a strategy that focuses solely on the unpredictability of the market and the exploitative needs of capital has failed our people, and will continue to fail unless it is radically overhauled. This is not merely rhetoric, but is evidenced through a survey conducted among our affiliates.

    We fully support the transformation of all of SETAs, including a rationalisation of them that best meets the developmental needs of our people. The SETAs are there to serve our people, not themselves!  They must be orientated, as a matter of urgency towards responding to job threats and losses, unemployment, skills development and building an infrastructure, based on decent and sustainable work.

    In the face of rising unemployment, and the continuing jobs bloodbath, measures to provide real opportunities for the unemployed beyond ‘short term projects’ is a crucial necessity. We cannot wait for the private sector to address this issue, which they never have, and they never will.

    Our people have skills, knowhow, insights, a deep understanding of the needs of our communities. Its time this ‘peoples knowledge’ was recognised and deployed to help tackle the many needs that our people have.

    This is an approach that requires a decisive break with the neoliberal paradigm, and poses the need for a people-driven agenda complemented by a developmental state. We urge the Minister to consult and work with others to articulate such a creative vision and plan of action to realise it. We are convinced that he will then be assured of the support of all of our people in the vital transformation project he has pledged to undertake.

    COSATU shares the concerns about consultation and calls for effective and consistent forms of participation involving organisational representatives, including labour, towards the development of strategy that is based on the needs of the working class and the poor.


  • Gaolatlhe Sefotlho

    Mzukisi your comment is very correct. While we the previously disadvantaged may not neccessarily want to be spoon-fed, systems need to favour us so as to make accreditation more accessible.Is a good/prospective Training Provider judged by accessibility to technological resourses? Perhaps, a more user friendly manual guide is neccessary to ensure easy response. As for the court case, issues that the Minister and his advisers were trying to set right were thumbsucked. Could they not do a bit of research and also cosult the then Min. of Labour – Membathisi Mdladlana and or the senior executive managers who were responsible for Skills Development at DoL. No proper consultations/discussions were sought from the the ANC/SACP leadership, but also us the Training Providers.


    Yes, Provincial Office personels need to be capacitated, in most cases they act as postmen.


    As for Ivor, he is cleverly displaying some racial nuances – a more deeper investigation will bring all this to light.      


  • Mzukisi Moyikwa

    I am dissappointed with this court ruling. Firstly, the minister should have caluculated his legal stand before executing this decision. That would have saved him time and embarassment of arguing with people like Ivor. As for Ivor, i have nothing to praise him for, instead he has made it very difficult particularly for the previously disadvantaged companies and individuals to succeed in training and development. He ensured that the whole process of applying for accreditation is done electronically, with no assistance whatsoever for emerging training providers. He also ensures that the Provincial Offices are manned by staff who are not capacitated  with skills and delegations to advise training providers towards accreditation. The change needs to take place in the Services SETA. Even if he wins this time, the Minister must never stop to ensure that there is substantive change in the SETA’s.


  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Interesting comment Bethuel.  I too have been wondering who was responsible for providing the legal advice behind the Minister’s moves.  I’m waiting for the full transcript of the case to see whether it sheds any light on your questions.  We’ll publish all further information we receive. 

  • Andreas Velthuizen

    Why is eduacation suddenly about  Blumenthal and Nzimande (note the alphabetical order)? Education and training should be about those learners in need of skills, knowledge and especially a change in attitude to improve the conditions of our society.  And people like us who help them to get there while trying to make a decent living. Managerism and rule by power-hungry individuals must end. This country needs a guillotine. 

  • Bethuel Sello Modise

    Do we comment looking or are we overlooking the reasons why the minister wanted changes in this SETA? Did he implement changes for the sake of change? I do not want to drive political and or racial tones into the matter, however, we need to be honest with ourselves here! Did or does the reinstated chair(s) serve the interest of the SETA? Why have so many service providers been complaining about this SETA? I expect us to transcend the boundaries of racial discord. I stand to be corrected on this observation but can’t help noticing that the SETA’S reinstated leadership does not reflect the demographics of our society and therefore casts doubt on its ability to redress the past imbalances. The ‘happy’ responses that I also read from our comment box also show majority of ‘fomerly advantaged’ accepts the court’s decision. Are they really impartial in their ‘happy’ responses or does this serve a certain political agenda? I honestly does not believe  it is only the Minister who has a political ‘agenda’ here. By the way, even if he does, he is a politician after all and has a political mandate to politically fullfill electoral obligations and expectations. Look at both sides of the coin and be honest if that is possible.

    To the Minister I say, did you not assess your actions in relation to the law of the country? Could I be wrong to say I am disappointed to realise that you did not fully seek legal advice from the experts regarding SETA governance. Maybe I did not expect a minister of your calbre to err in this way. Let us not in this democracy create impressions that we ignore legal responsibilities that we have to adhere to. I must say I expected more from you! ‘I KNOW THE MINISTER WILL READ THIS’.

  • Bosole Chidi

    I do belive that Education is for mental liberation.No one should impose what you can not chew.If the chair is imposed, what interest does she/he have to any seta.What value will he/she add? I salute the order of the court in this case, but I do condemn corruption and a corruptee.

  • Bernadette Perumal


    Finally someone , has the guts to stand up. Truth be told, comrade Blade does not have a clue as to what skills development is and what community development is all  about. He needs to take a walk and see who the real service delivery foot soldiers are. Dr.  Ivor is definitely the man to watch. He is definitely  not a monkey see, monkey do pleasing person. Well done SSeta. This is democracy in its true form. Not communistic pardon my pun. Its not about I , me and myself. Its about education and development. Well done, Dr. Blumenthal/ We the committed education and development practitioners salute you. As our president said. We must stand up for what we believe in. You have the support from SADEPA AND ITS 8645 MEMBERS

  • Cas Olivier

    Both parties I believe have political objectives. As an assessor and moderator all that I need is support and service delivery which I did not get from Ivor and Co.


    Only today I recived an evaluation report dated today which is in total conflict with one I recieved 23 February 2011. On the one I am registered as an assessor and moderator (with motivation) and on today’s one I need the requirements as motivated on in the first one.

    My one and only wish is prompt and sharp delivery as I receive from the ETDP Seta


  • Liza Gresse

    Let democracy rule. The following saying comes to mind: ” I would rather die standing up, than living on my knees!”

    We salute Ivor Blumenthal and his staff for not taking this lying down.

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    Wonderful news!!  Get rid of the whole lot and put control of all the Seta’s in the hands of those who foot the bills.  Then invite the government and other interested parties to partner with them in pursuing meaningful skills development initiatives – not the other way round.

  • Des Squire

    That is great to hear – it is time certain of our politicians realised they are operating in a democratic SA and not a dictatorship. Good luck to Ivor and the SErvices SETA for tomorrows action and congratulations to all concerned. We now need companies to stand up to the department and perhaps we should lobby to withold the Skills Development Levies until the entire unacceptable situation has be sorted out.  

  • Nkhensani Ndhlovu

    It’s true that the only loosers in the whole battle is the learners and the ETD Practitoners…. It is really sad. This win is just the beginning and I  just hope that polotics do not come into play, the it will be just dirty play!