Am I the only totally stupid training provider? 48

I have been a fully accredited provider with ETDPSETA for some years now – although working on small scale as compared to Learnership delivering providers. I have successfully presented developed and aligned learning programmes (of which one is the Develop and Design course) for approval, and I have regularly negotiated the increasingly bureaucratic quality assurance system to upload learners with success. (Without much hope that it really ensures quality learning…but that’s another conversation). I have also never been subsidised by SETA funding. I operate privately.


This year, I have very confidently applied for approval for ABET Literacy programmes on levels 1 and 2 (since March 2011), with Level 3 ready for submission as well. I was quite happy to negotiate the challenges of having ABET Literacy learning for the first time being rewarded through credit awards on compiling and assessment of a portfolio, as opposed to the writing of IEB exams and not receiving any reward until successful completion of all three learning areas in a level. It all seemed clear enough and I submitted in exactly the same format of Programme Strategy with alignment matrix, Learning material and a great Assessment Guide with Formative and Summative assessment for all aspects of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing as I did in all previous successful-first-time-round applications.


HOWEVER, I have encountered a number of obstructions, resulting in re-submissions more than once, and still no idea whether I am even on the right target on the eve of wanting to submit Level 3. An abbreviated list of my troubles:

1. No public availability ever of submission dates or feedback dates. Last year’s info on website, also useless to ask for by e-mail.

2.  First contact: Courier company delivers all submitted material with a report in an envelope. If programme is Not Approved, NO recommendations. Obviously also no action plan or way forward, and an anonymous evaluator.

3. The obvious route: Re-submit with some adjustments to the matrix and a lengthy explanation of the rationale of the Facilitator Guide, the nature of the learning resources (of which the Learner Workbook is one), and pointing out where the (most important request in report)- The Appeals form is actually included and why it is not part of the Learner Workbook.

4. Next point of contact: Courier company delivers the submitted material with a report in an envelope. Same story, same anonymous evaluator.

By this time I am having serious doubts as to my ability to explain information on paper, by graphic displays and sorting of information in a file with dividers!

5. Next submission in third quarter now. Not much adjustments to be done anymore, and I suggest an opportunity to meet with the evaluator to explain what goes where and why. I also go to the trouble to cross-reference every learner activity to the unit standard outcomes, the Facilitator guide as well, and the crowning glory – every checklist criteria is cross-referenced to unit standard outcomes too!

6. Numerous phone calls, e-mail requests to track progress – as it has an impact on next level submissions. (If the first is understood, the next dovetails… if not….)

7. One of the reasons for Non Approval is no assessor and moderators registered to assess the ABET unit standards. Application for extension of scope also submitted in March – but was returned to me in unopened envelope with learning material not approved. Re-submitted, then hard copies was lost, found, and reported that those unit standards were not on ETDPSETA’s Datanet system. (Quality Assurance since January 2011 the ETDP responsibility as per SAQA website). A visit to the ETQA manager did not help, a personal meeting with the man in charge of Assessor registrations has at least resulted in one Assessor being registered last week. The other, on urgent request today, was registered to assess ABET Practitioner Certificate… which was not part of the application at all!, but still no ABET unit standards… I am waiting response on reporting this matter of misreading.

8. A follow-up today with Programme Evaluation to check if the registered assessor can please be included in the consideration for approval before sending it back for the fourth time, results in me being informed that the reports are already being written and will be available next Friday – I assume by expensive Courier again. And I guess I know what the results will be…  


I want to give up. My clients are not keeping the contract for me for a year. Lo and behold, the training need might have changed altogether with new perspectives brought by a new manager. I have no guarantees when I enter this laborious process of programme approval. No way of tracking it, of communicating successfully with the administration of the process, no opportunity to interact and explain where to find what I think is obvious but might not be so in the eyes of a non-subject expert (Languages).. I think.. is trying to evaluate the programme as a skills course. I don’t even have any guarantees that departments will coordinate and speak to each other. And still, I have hope to make a difference in this country by bringing innovative thought and practical solutions to the learning arena. I bite the bullet, work nights, drive my team nuts for perfection in what we deliver. I happily comply with all the requirements of a responsible training provider and MORE. I display it all in every verification visit, despite the fact that each verifier has different expectations than the previous one six months ago. And yet, I will NOT give up –  I know what I have is excellent, and I know it is dearly needed out there.


But what more can I do to have my SETA cheer me on???  


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48 thoughts on “Am I the only totally stupid training provider?

  • Margaret Becker

    Well done Zerelde. I had just heard your name mentioned by my friend Carmen Emanuel who met with you last week.  She was very impressed by you and your work and suggested I contact you as well.  I believe double coincidences need following up.  We may be able to be of support to one another as I am involved in assessing people for learnerships with companies. Communication and reading difficulties in English are a huge problem in youngsters who have good development potential.  Well done again on your persistence.  

  • Deepak Ramnath


    Greetings Zerelde

    Take the only route you have – Keep all reports safe so that you have proof and – report their ineffeciencies to the DHET and watch heads roll… I’m sure your future queries will handled with the utmost of respect.




  • Werner Rossouw

    So it’s not just my SETA? Ha Ha. Yes, indeed. We submitted 2 qualifications a year ago. After 4 resubmissions one was finally approved last week – and only because we threw SAQA Policy at them. Their requirements and SAQA Criteria and Guidelines did not match up. Very frustrating!! Hang in there, this too shall pass.

  • Gizelle Mc Intyre

    Dear Zerelde
    I am so sorry that you like the rest of us have to deal with so much paperwork when we should be doing what we do well – training! Just a note – I understand and hope you will keep going!

  • Solomon Modipa


    I received an invitation as SSETA registered member from to conduct some surveys and be paid, which involves big Companies around the world. I am a bit hesitant to agree as i’m not sure of its sincerity. Is there any member who can ascertain the intergrity of the project/

  • Marguerite Sacco Turner

    I had same type of frustrations and eventually threw in the towel – am no longer accredited, and do my work in joint ventures with accredited companies – much less stress. One thing however that does work is to make yourself heard – phone and yell. I did, and I got what I needed (after a year of to and fro!) Don’t give up. Just keep on yelling.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Zerelde,  The essence of administrative law and administrative justice that you have a right to be heard – to make representations, and when a decision is made against you, you have a right to be given the full reasons for that decision.  Therefore, in applying for accreditation you submit documentation.  If the accreditation is refused, you have a right to the detailed reasons why it has been refused. You then have the chance to correct or supplement the material submitted. 

  • Zerelde Uys Post author

    Wilma, the scary part is that I did submit an appeal somewhere earlier in the process, but I don’t think that they have any consistant system in place on how to recognise or process it. I was just told to re-submit – which is now becoming my frustration, that I am just thrown into the same cycle  – start at the beginning everytime. This is now my plight to make someone aware of the absolutely impractical processing system. I suppose we can’t always expect a perfect programme submission first time round, but goodness, they way it plays out is just ridiculous. If I could have had an opportunity to do a presentation of the complexity of the material, I believe a lot of issues would have been solved right at the start. But I also perceive few staff members with the will to take ownership of such solutions.

    I will report back on my progress. I am determined to make a point and hopefully a difference somewhere.  

  • Wilma de Villiers

    Zerelda, the processes and admin are frustrating.  One year it happened to us with one of our programmes.  Eventually I contacted the SETA and said that I want to submit an appeal, can they please explain to me what to do.  A week later three people from the SETA visited us and went through the learning material in our presence. Finally it was approved.


    What frustrated me is that we implemented the recommendations and then when the next report came, there were new recommendations.

    Hope that you will receive good news!

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    Hi Sylvia – yes I understand that this can be a problem and I would completely understand if this is not possible. Maybe interested providers could email me and in that way I could get their email addresses. Possibly Skills Universe/APPETD etc could all email their individual databases and get their members to contact me – this will (a) indicate their willingness to participate and (b) help with the ethical issues.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Chris,  I am interested in how the Engineering Council and affiliates are approaching the issue.  I know how long you have been trying to make progress.  I suspect that you may be able to provide an exemplar for other professional bodies.  Please keep us updated on your progress.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Jacqui

    I’m not sure whether Alan would want us to disclose member’s email addresses, so I will discuss with him first.  We may be able to handle it by send out a message inviting them to participate.   APPETD probably also do, as would TAPPP and ASDFSA as well, but they would probably all have the same reservations. I will let you know. 

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    I would need email adresses of providers who might want to take part in the survey which I will distribute via a website called Kwiksurvey. Unfortunately I have to do this myself so can’t ask Skills Universe to do it for me as I have to log in to this survey tool from my own computer. All responses will be completely anonymous if the respondents so choose. Is there a database of email addresses that I would use? Maybe APPETD might have this as well? I suppose these questions really are directed to Sylvia.  I would ask for all respondents to give me their “informed consent” to ensure that the ethics of research are complied with.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Thanks so much for persisting with this discussion.  I do think our debating through the issue will get us to a productive outcome.  Jacqui, maybe you could run a small survey as a pilot project to test out a few questions, so that you get something out of the exercise?  I will run that idea of best/worst Seta voted by members past Alan & see what he says.

    Regarding the past meeting, I had gained the impression that it was more an information giving than information sharing exercise.  However, that it took place at all says to me that the Minister will be willing to engage, especially if there is something constructive and positive – improving Seta service, saving money, meeting his objectives, so that it’s a potential win win situation. I’m sure that I posted his objectives agreed with the President – I’ll check.  If not, I’ll post them in the Training Service Providers group.  I’d suggest that it’s important to set up a meeting to demonstrate what providers are actually delivering and their commitment towards the national objectives.  Then how they can do so much more with some modifications/improved performance/communication from the ETQA side.  

  • Zerelde Uys Post author

    Jacqui, interesting research which I am very interested in.

    For now, I think a simple survey to establish provider sentiments and the nature of such could be of value to determine some action. Even if we send it to CEOs – or publish the results of a comparative study – maybe a Skills Universe Reward for best and worst SETA of the month/year? Will we get some attention this way, perhaps?

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    Hi Zelda


    I will definitely contact you with regard to the questions on the survey – it’s a little way away though – probably only next year. Some of the questions you are asking are exactly what I am asking – where is the evidence that all these QA systems, processes, procedures, etc result in better student outcomes? And when it comes to public providers, the question actually makes me laugh! We need to get back to basics; let qualified people (like you and me) get on with the job of teaching and training without having to jump hoops to prove ourselves over and over again and be “evaluated” by clerks behind desks as to our suitability or qualification to do the job. The whole OBE system (as we apply it here in SA) is fraught with problems (did my M degree on this). Over assessment, over-moderation as you say then verification on top of that makes the system very unmanageable and eventually it will be like a pack of cards that tumbles in on itself.

  • Zerelde Uys Post author

    Thank you Jacqui for explaining FASSET process. May I please add that not all SETAs are problematic. Some really have sensible QA measures in place and workable administration systems. ETDP has always been straight-forward and reasonable to negotiate, but this year is another story. All the more reason to alert their board whilst something can still be done.

    But I would like to understand why the interpretation of how to assure quality differs so vastly from one SETA to the next. Especially ETD should regard their practitioners as being professionals in the field of education practice once they have accredited them as such. However, they have increased their ‘police’ measures, resulting in an incredible checklist mentality approach to paper presentation, without actually ensuring better quality of learning. That is why I feel so strongly about the programme approval – surely that should provide the first indication of qaulity of delivery. But then, an excellent programme can be destroyed by an unskilled facilitator. And who checks that? Or measures it for that matter? They encourage a moderation-to-death process, but no-one asks how many learners actually benefit by being changed in the place of application?

    But then….this is another conversation. 

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    The meeting with professional bodies was more the MInister teling us what to do as opposed to use having any real input. But at least he is making the effort I suppose. We have an excellent relationship with FASSET as our ETQA – the professional bodies accredited by FASSET become agent ETQA’s responsible for accrediting the providers that offer training for their professional qualifications – the FASSET website (learnerships section) will give you most of the information as to who these professional bodies are. None of the other SETA’s work on this model, to my knowledge. However, QCTO is leaning in this direction except that they plan to charge us for doing their work for them – that’s a whole other story. As the accreditation manager for Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa, I have the role of accrediting our providers (see for a list of these providers). We do not review their curriculum materials at all unless there is a complaint from a student in this regard.We ouselves are accredited by FASSET and we work according to the FASSET accreditation template for our providers. Details are uploaded in much the same way as learner results are uploaded. We also offer summative assessments only while the providers do the formative assessments which are only considered if there is an appeal against a summative result. Many of our students are self-study students and do not go to a provider at all. Our results are verified by the SETA annually. We are monitored annually by FASSET for qa purposes. All in all the system is very flexible while is it also rigorous.It is a system that works for us at minimal cost. All the professional bodies sit on the Quality Assurance and Learnerships Committee of FASSET (held quarterly) and a member of the Committee is elected to the main FASSET Board to take our concerns, strategies, etc. up at that level. When the QCTO started rattling its sabres, we went with a united voice to FASSET who then lodged our objections to the draft QCTO policies. So it can work. APPETD could possibly be a place to start although this is not a “government body”. Hope this helps!

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Zerelde, we’re happy for the skills-universe to be used for a survey.  Jacqui as it’s part of your research, maybe you’d like to do that.  Zerelde in preparation for a meeting with the chairperson, I would suggest that you download the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. 

  • Zerelde Uys Post author

    I thank you all for great comments and suggestions. This is obviously not a new experience in our world, but I do believe that I am at a cross-road in deciding how to deal with this.

    Let me just give feedback on today’s happenings. Regarding the Assessor registrations, I again received a useless reply to my follow-up request, which I forwarded to the Head of Department with a nice lay-out of the problem. The responsible gentleman then responded with this one-liner:

    “Please not that Abet level 1 is quality assured by Umalusi, I think youshould also do your research on some of the issues”. Back to square one…and I am now losing the carefully kept patience commented on. I have sent him the proof of ETDPSETA listed as quality assurer per the SAQA website again, but he responded with more sarcasm and less insight – which has now given me good reason to escalate the problem to the ETQA manager. I would like to give this gentlemen the credit that he immediately responded and is in communication with me with a promise to resolve on Monday.

    In review of The Big Picture:

    • I recognise the changes in structures and welcome the strategic thinking behind the QCTO. I would like to become a student of the new process, but have still been unsuccessful in joining any such Community of Practice… but I will keep trying.
    • I have made a decision not to be too dependent on SETA processes, but will stay compliant because I believe it is the current requirements to be in the playground.
    • However, I have resolved myself not to take on a Victim mentality, but rather demand the quality of service delivery that I am prepared to display in my business and training practice.

    Therefore, this is my Action Plan:

    1. I am happy to collaborate with any Community of Practice to make a sensible contribution in resolving these mutual challenges. I believe a survey is a good place to begin and would like to contribute to such a process. Jacqi, does it fit your research question? I will assist in formulating the questionnaire. Des, and Sylvia, I would think we could use the Skills Universe to get fair exposure for reliant resullts. 
    2. Even though litigation is an enticing thought, I believe it might be a last solution, and I would rather wish to seek constructive dialogue in finding workable solutions for all role-players at this point.
    3. I undertake to document my experience with relevant facts, make an appointment with the new Chairperson, and have a discussion to explain the impact on the business of the provider and the employment implications for facilitators and staff in the industry.
    4. I will ask for the following information to be disclosed:
      • The procedures to have programmes evaluated and the selection of appropriate evaluators.
      • The credentials of the person/s involved in my learning programme evaluation process
      • The policy of the SETA to deal with complaints and negligence if so exposed.
    5. I have a list of suggestions to my SETA (sent in March this year) in how to better involve and inform providers. Better communication will improve half of the issues. I will also try to take this up with the Chairperson.

    I do believe that we need to work together. I did respond to the TAPP invitation, but have not heard where and if the meeting on Tuesday 16 August is still taking place.

    Let us not lose heart – even though we lose money…..! At least this forum provides a place to raise a voice. Thanks again for all the responses, it energises and gives hope that we are not fighting alone – or are not too stupid after all….

  • Chris Reay

    The Engineering Council and all the Voluntary Engineering Associations (VAs) are now assembling a strategic initiative to undertake the training of Candidate Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Certificated Engineers. ECSA is having the professional designations registered with SAQA. We are addressing the structures that we think will link the complexities of SAQA, the QCTO, the service providers (employers via a Commitment and Undertaking), the material developers (the VAs), and the standards QA party (ECSA). The objective is to establish a complete mechanism that will enable the employers to access SETA funds at NQF 7 level via the WSP submissions based on this programme and have access to a pre-designed and compliant curriculum and trainers and mentors to define and implement the training process. The essense of this model’s success will be effectively managing the process within the profession and having as little oficialdom as possible but as much as is necessary in the structure. It is evident that the total involvement of the profession via the statutory body (the ECSA) and the private bodies (the VAs) is the only way to go, and where we realise and know that no part of officialdom has the competencies, skills and experience to pass judgement on the standards required for engineering training. In effect we have to use peer group review and accreditation processes to further the role of engineering training and skills development and get the QCTO to rely on and believe in this. We are hoping this will work out, but we do not underestimate the endemic ability of officialdom to mess with this and provide the sort of frustration expressed in the contributors to this topic here. The message is: assemble those with the skills, knowledge and drive into a cohesive group with critical mass, and steamroller your case. The small providers will never win with the bureacracy that is loaded against them. I guess it is like any successful movement: it needs mass and momentum, and in the case of SA at the moment, a fair dose of faith and energy to believe we can win in a country where the damage to proven methods of education and skills development has been catastrophic.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Thanks Brian, I do understand the walking away.  Jacqui you mention meeting with the Minister.  I’m assuming that you are talking about the meeting with professional bodies. What was achieved?  I did ask one of the bodies whether there was a commitment or declaration from the meeting, but haven’t received anything. If there was such a document and you have a copy, I’d really appreciate seeing it. Otherwise, I’m not aware of anything constructive that the professional bodies and associations have done regarding the ETQA issues.  My suggestion related specifically to that area as the original question is about accreditation of material.  I am broadly aware of what is intended with the QCTO.  If there is to be no further accreditation of private providers material by Setas and that is beneath all the delaying of processing, then that needs to be made clear.  It would seem not based on Harriet’s very positive messages about Merseta.  Appreciate your comments.

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    Hi Sylvia, With so many reds in the beds I really don’t know how one makes this happen. The divide is actually massive.  Despite your analogy, there seems so little common understanding and genuine sense of purpose. Of course we all wish it were different and some continue to work towards that end – hopeful of some success. Others, after having been slapped so many times, choose to walk away – having lost hope of success.  I believe the ball is actually in the new ministers court.  if, by now he cannot see what everyone else can see having tolerated it over the years, is he likely to be the inspirational leader all are looking for to make the most of what is left in this country to drive the skills revolution?   I must confess I battle with this! The signs are not clear to me.  I became one of those many lost souls who embraced the SETA movement with maximum commitment and enthusiasm but over the years got slapped so many times that I no longer afford them that opportunity.  When I see some real leadership, as distinct from political rhetoric and self-serving claptrap, making its mark with the SETA movement, I might risk my chin once again. Meantime I rest in peace and continue to seek out and work with those who value my services – not for the wallpaper – but for what they deliver.  We have wonderful games of football together and the mutual growth is equally amazing!  The fact is we have discovered we don’t need this movement in its historical or present form.

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    Dear Sylvia

    The professional bodies are stepping up to the plate and have had a meeting with the Minister. The QCTO is going to make things much worse and much more expensive – a new kid on the block that is trying to reinvent the wheel. The Minister is a bureaucrat who could be replaced at the drop of a hat if Zuma so desires or if he is replaced when a new government comes to power – his own political party is calling for him to step down from his portfolio as Minister – very stable? Kader Asmal created a monolith which is turning into a three-toed sloth and gathering moss because it moves so slowly. Free enterprise,to my way of thinking, is the only solution. Too much government control actually means chaos! Sorry to be so critical but policies are fine on paper – but implementation is another story altogether. Businesses that are trying to make a living can’t wait for five years or more for something to filter through the system.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi to all, I have always been frustrated by bureacracy that frustrates the outcome.  In my HR career it was all the appraisal paperwork that made no constructive contribution to performance management.  But however, frustrated I become, I personally feel that working elsewhere isn’t the answer. There’s an ad on TV of two little boys with footballs on either side of barbed wire who meet in the middle to play football together. The tag line is about talking together.  I know I suggested litigation, but really I suppose the problem is that there is no talking together.  There is no forum to address the issues.  As the QCTO is completely opaque other than to a few “insiders”, I’m not going to hold my breath there.  But there IS something that has changed.  There is a new minister.  Have a look at the National Skills Accord – especially Commitment 6.  If private providers can demonstrate their contribution to the National Skills Accord, which is specifically in support of the New Growth Path, then I cannot believe that the Minister would not listen. I suggest that we do need to demonstrate an understanding and an acceptance of the national skills development agenda. However, I also think that the professional bodies and associations should step up to the plate as well.  Where are they?   There is also that Seta forum that was launched – haven’t heard anything about that lately.  If the bodies met with the Seta Forum – & the Minister – maybe we could make headway.  How do we make this happen?

  • Brian Moores-Pitt

    Hi Zerelde, You are not the only stupid one – all of us who remain battling this system would qualify. Some of us more than others because we have been doing so for over ten years. Everything that has been said and proposed here has been tabled several times before. No sustainable change! The only remaining question really is “does this situation continue to occur everywhere because those on the inside are more stupid than those of us on the outside?” Heaven forbid – maybe they ARE smarter and we just cannot see the real agenda? Perhaps the really smart ones are the increasing numbers working outside the country for people who really welcome and appreciate their contribution?

  • John Ecclestone

    Hi everyone! I am now sitting in Taiwan due to in part the bureaucratic processes involved in registration.

    As far as I am concerend a private body, irrespective of what is happening in the government circles (requirements and all), should be evaluating our training material.

    In all my years in South Africa, and there are many people here who are older and wiser than I, I have never ever seen such incompetence in our governement departments – one or two may be lucky to escape my generalization here, but especially in the environment in which we are working.

    As Zerelde has said, submission after submission, expense upon expense and it does not always end there.

    I for one don’t have the money to sit around and wait in hope that a programme will eventually be approved down the line, especially not as a small scale provider.

    I sometimes wonder too what the qualification is of the person who is ‘assessing’ and then accrediting us as training providers.

    I realise that ‘fly by night’ providers and unscrupulous ones have to be curtailed and stopped.

    Is the government really concerned about us? We work and start businesses to make money and put food on the tables for our families.

    They have messed up the process in schools, the Defence Force is now snowed under with paperwork, the instructors need to be ETDP certified, whereas the Methods of Instuction Course which I did when doing my national service – a 4 week programme on facilitation was way ahead of what I see today. The defence force has always presented programmes based on outcomes.

    Those of you in the group who served during the national service era will know that everything was outcomes based. Now the process, which has worked for years, gets changed and all instructors must be ETDP qualified before they may present training. Their is such a backlog that in a few years time those that are young enough to still have the old qualification (37+ years of age) are also going to be out of the system.

    Just another example of a perfectly good system that has been changed because it must be changed, not a change for the good.

    A professional body, appointed by peers not government, that will act as a controlling authority with elected professionals who can deliver the service is what is required.

    Shoot me if I am incorrect but we have to take drastic measures as this has been going on for too long in our environment.


  • Desiree Lang

    We are facing the same trying situation, however with full qualifications end dates changing all the time.

    For a small private provider to have to complete all this paperwork, you do it in evenings and week-ends as your days must be focussed on your client projects or you have no income!! Then the process of registering with SETA, Umalusi and DHET. Having to convert from cc to Pty Ltd, endless phone calls and follow ups with CIPRO now CIPC, such poor service. Once you successfully achieve this hurdle, DHET advises, no, all documents must now reflect new Pty Ltd details, back to SETA & everywhere else to get changes done. How do they expect us to manage our business and remain viable?  We want to be accredited and registered to show we are committed to providing a quality service and we are a quality private provider.


    The processes however do not support smaller companies. We provide employment to staff, who must battle with us through these challenges. We are proud as well to have had successful verification visits and to see our learners getting their credits uploaded. That is the real reward if you are a genuine trainer who wants to see people (learners) succeeding and start contributing to the economy by being employed after completing learnerships or skills programmes. At the same time you need to keep your company viable and sustainable, really challenging all the time.

    Take a bow those private providers who remain committed to what they do under these circumstances. Great post Zerelde!



  • Harriet Charles-Reber

    Have had the same problem with some of the other SETAs however, I must say MerSETA is on the ball. Two weeks from application for accreditation to site visit. Replied to my e-mail over a weekend nogal!

  • charlene kay-clough


    I have experienced the same frustrations, though with another SETA.  When I eventually got through to someone “involved” in the process, (though where and how this person was involved was witheld from me), I was advised that the problem needed to be passed to SAQA….let’s face it, if it was not for (automated) responses from SAQA I would believe they were a virtual body as they too NEVER reply/respond.  I firmly believe it is a clearly orchestrated and no doubt mandated practice to frustrate private providers.

    With regard to your comment on ISO and quality assurance, Jacqui, I would be very interested to hear feedback from others. 

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    Accreditation with UMALUSI is hellishly expensive! Cost us R17 000 (their fees) just to get to the first step of the process. Would have cost us R200 000 to go the whole way as a professional body providing summative assessments and certification.

  • Catherine Anne Robertson

    I have just finished the same exercise – the Setas contract their work out to consultants, each of whom has his or her own idea of what accreditation or programme approval means.  As an academic, I am appalled at the waste of time, effort and resources to do a so-called programme design (curriculum?).  Does it really mean a better quality of teaching from which the learner gets the full benefit?   Is it because so many facilitators are untrained and need all the learning material alignment required, as, without it, they cannot facilitate as they do not always have the knowledge (and certainly not the pedagogics)?  What has happened to the time when you got your syllabus, accessed your own sources and even wrote your own textbook or compiled your own notes when they were not available?  And what has happened to the practice of setting your own assessments and memoranda before starting a new module (instead of having to submit a forest of paper for the entire qualification for programme approval before you can even start)?  I have optimistically been waiting for a single occupational ETQA but it looks as though this will be a delegated authority, once again, at great cost to the provider.  Can we really afford to allow this crippling bureaucracy and unbelievable arrogance on the part of the evaluators (are they all even qualified?) to continue?

  • Grant Cooper

    I agree with Jaap. We really dont know what the future holds for private providers. I must say you have really have had a lot of patience in this matter. Also I agree with Des we should have some kind of a survey or see if we can formulate some kind of a body to tackle issues like these and report them to the Chairpersons. 

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    On another tack altogether, since private providers run businesses, and as Zelde says, are not government funded at all, should we not be telling the govt to take a hike! Not that I don’t believe in quality asusrance – but there are other mechanisms such as the ISO system, etc that provide benchmarks of quality. If other business such as manufacturing etc can be quality assured in this way, who should service business such as those in education, not be able to do this? With the new Consumer Protection legislation (which by the way does not apply to governmnet departments!), the consumer of such services will be better protected against unscrupulous providers. Just a thought!

  • Hannes Nel

    Zerelde, Your situation is not new. However, bearing in mind the changens in the ETD environment (with the QCTO slowly coming to the fore) and the Minister iof Higher Education and Training’s attitude towards private providers I strongly recommend that you accredit with Umalusi for at least one full qualification. Consider the NC(V) focusing on Education. Regards, Dr Jaap Nel, MD Mentornet

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    This will be wonderful material for my doctoral studies which is examining this kind of issue. In terms of taking them to court, the principles of administrative justice will apply. The Administrative Justice Act requires state officials to provide fair and efficient service to members of the public and will give people who feel they have been mistreated recourse to legal review.

    Section 33 of the Constitution states:

    (1) Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.
    (2) Everyone whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action has the right to be given written reasons.
    (3) National legislation must be enacted to give effect to these rights and must–

    (a) provide for the review of administrative action by a court or, where appropriate, an independent and impartial tribunal;
    (b) impose a duty on the state to give effect to the rights in subsections (1) and (2); and
    (c) promote efficient administration.
    You have lots of ammunition!
    Hope it goes better from here on out. I agree with Sylvia – escalate it to the Chaiman of the Board.
  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Des and Zerelde, Maybe we should explore this idea further – who to submit what and to whom.  (I have suggested before that we collect information to submit, but had no response.)  My suggestion is that the professional bodies or associations (SABPP,TAPPP,APPETD) should be the submitting body.  I’m sure that if we ask our members – or even look through our past discussions – we can provide ample evidence. (If wished, we could exclude member names.) I would suggest that instead of the CEOs, maybe it should be submitted to the new Seta chairpersons, who I understand have been appointed specifically to ensure that Seta performance improves. I welcome suggestions from other members. 

  • Des Squire

    Hi Sylvia and all members of Skills Univers and perhaps even Skills Portal

    Perhaps it is time we conducted a survey related to SETA service and submitted this as a group to all the CEO’s for comment and fedback. The Shoddy service has gone on for long enough and the losses incurred by providers as a result are enormous. What do you think???????

  • Zerelde Uys Post author

    Thank you Sylvia for interesting advice. I have always been a solid supporter of the SETAs and the way quality needs to be assured, but this year I have on numerous occasions wished for the opportunity to take my SETA to court based on breach of contract. I regard my accreditation application and their accepting me as a legal contract. I have kept my side of the deal religously – wouldn’t have been able to stay legal otherwise – but I honestly do not see them doing the same anymore.  And I wonder if they understand the seriousness of their undertaking at all? Will consider the options.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    As I understand, Setas are bodies that are covered by the requirements of administrative law.  What you have described provides evidence for a legal course of action on numerous counts.  Maybe you should be looking for a legal firm to advise you on your rights and an appropriate way forward.  Alternatively, maybe you should be appealing directly to the DHET?  At the very least this looks like fruitless and wasteful expenditure under the PFMA.  I believe that the Minister has made clear his responsibility for Setas and determination to ensure that Seta funds are not wasted but directed to national priorities.  Abet is a national priority – and PIVOTAL.