I think the following would be the most significant events in SA skills development? [Not necessarily related to success though].
The appointments of the 5 presidents of SA [Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe, Zuma, and Ramaphosa]. Each president had an impact on the success or failure of SD in SA.
The appointment of the ministers [Bengu, Asmal, Pandoor, Mkhize, and Nzimande] that had a role in post-school education and the DGs that ran the departments. Again in each case, SD in SA was impacted positively or negatively.
The proclamation and implementation of the following Acts: SAQA Act, SD and SDL Acts, NQF Act and BEE Act.
The formation of SAQA, the 23 now 21 SETAs, The NSA, and the 3 QCs.
The publication/implementation of the SA PSET System White Paper and the Revised B-BBEE Codes.
There is a story mostly tragic, behind all of this.
Good luck with your thesis. PS: Happy to clarify anything if need be.
Technological innovations, including the advent and ubiquity of the personal computer, the Internet of Things, mobile digitalisation, e-learning, and the current era of apps are worth considering as significant events for skill development events.
Significant chronological events you may wish to consider, could include both recent and current ones – like the implications and innovative responses to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the regional unrest situations.