Skills Development

As of mid-2014, there were as many as 829 800 unfilled positions for high-skilled workers, across a wide range of occupations in South Africa. The greatest skill shortages, according to the findings of a survey then published by Adcorp,1 were in senior management, professions, technical occupations and agriculture.

A more recently conducted critical skills survey, published in August 2019, by expatriation and international mobility sector specialist firm Xpatweb, shows several sectors in the economy are experiencing critical skill shortages. The top ten skill shortages are:

  • ICT specialists
  • Engineers
  • Artisans
  • Senior financial executives
  • Health sector
  • Executive managers
  • Specialists and academics
  • Mining executives
  • Risk managers
  • Foreign language speakers

The Skills Development Act 1998 provides a framework for the implementation of strategies in the workplace, to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce; and to provide for learnerships, financing of skills development, and to regulate employment services.

The Act falls under the authority of the Minister of Labour, but much is heard about SETA – the Sector Education and Training Authority which is to implement administering of the Act, and its purposes and aims.

A. Registration of employment services

  1. Any person who wishes to provide employment services (for gain) must register with the Director General of Higher Education and Training. It is an offence to provide such services if you are not registered.2

  2. In fact, it is an offence to conduct the business of a private employment services agency (in other words, providing employment services for gain) in contravention of the Act, in general, and any requirements as prescribed by regulation.3

B. Wrongful conduct

  1. It is an offence to obstruct or attempt improperly to influence any person performing a function in terms of the Act.4

  2. It is, furthermore, a crime to obtain, or attempt to obtain any prescribed document by means of fraud, false pretences or by submitting a false or forged prescribed document.5

  3. It is also illegal knowingly to furnish false information in any document required under the Act.6

  1. Adcorp is a leading human capital management group, and the data referred to above was taken from an article posted on s.v. ‘SA’s Economy Desperately Needs High-skilled workers’. It seems that access to that report has since been disabled. 

  2. Section 33(d) read with section 24(1). 

  3. Section 33(e). 

  4. Section 33(a). 

  5. Section 33(b). 

  6. Section 33(c).