Skills development act no. 97 Of 1998




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SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ACT
NO. 97 OF 1998

[ASSENTED TO 20 OCTOBER, 1998]


[DATE OF COMMENCEMENT TO BE PROCLAIMED]

(Unless otherwise indicated)

(English text signed by the President)

ACT

To provide an institutional framework to devise and implement national, sector and workplace strategies to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce; to integrate those strategies within the National Qualifications Framework contemplated in the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995; to provide for learnerships that lead to recognised occupational qualifications; to provide for the financing of skills development by means of a levy-grant scheme and a National Skills Fund; to provide for and regulate employment services; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

 

CHAPTER 1


DEFINITIONS, PURPOSE AND INTERPRETATION OF ACT

  1. Definitions

  2. Purposes of Act

  3. Interpretation

CHAPTER 2
NATIONAL SKILLS AUTHORITY

  1. Establishment of National Skills Authority

  2. Functions of National Skills Authority

  3. Composition of National Skills Authority and term and vacation of office

  4. Constitution of National Skills Authority

  5. Remuneration and administration of National Skills Authority

CHAPTER 3
SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITIES

  1. Establishment of SETA

  2. Functions of SETA

  3. Composition of SETA

  4. Chambers of SETA

  5. Constitution of SETA

  6. Finances of SETA

  7. Taking over administration of SETA

CHAPTER 4
LEARNERSHIPS

  1. Learnerships

  2. Learnership agreements

  3. Contract of employment with learner

  4. Disputes about learnerships

CHAPTER 5
SKILLS PROGRAMMES

  1. Skills programmes

  2. Disputes

CHAPTER 6
INSTITUTIONS IN DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR

  1. Skills Development Planning Unit

  2. Employment services

  3. Registration of persons that provide employment services

  4. Cancellation of registration of employment service

  5. Appeal against Director-General's decision

CHAPTER 7
FINANCING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

  1. National Skills Fund

  2. Use of money in Fund

  3. Control and administration of Fund

  4. Budget for training by public service employers

CHAPTER 8
GENERAL

  1. 31. Jurisdiction of Labour Court

  2. Monitoring, enforcement and legal proceedings

  3. Offences

  4. Penalties

  5. Delegation

  6. Regulations

  7. Repeal of laws and transitional provisions

  8. Act binds State

  9. Short title and commencement

Schedule 1 Repeal of laws
Schedule 2 Transitional provisions

CHAPTER 1

DEFINITIONS, PURPOSE AND APPLICATION OF ACT

1.   Definitions.--In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates--

"Basic Conditions of Employment Act" means the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997);

"Department" means the Department of Labour;

"Director-General" means the Director-General of Labour;



"employee" means--

  1. any person, excluding an independent contractor, who works for another person or for the State and who receives, or is entitled to receive, any remuneration; or

  2. any other person who in any manner assists in carrying on or conducting the business of an employer, and "employed" and "employment" have corresponding meanings;

"employment services" means the provision of the service of--

  1. advising or counselling of workers on career choices either by the provision of information or other approaches;

  2. assessment of work-seekers for--

    1. entry or re-entry into the labour market; or

    2. education and training;

  3. the reference of work-seekers--

    1. to employers to apply for vacancies; or

    2. to training providers for education and training;

  4. assistance of employers by--

    1. providing recruitment and placement services;

    2. advising them on the availability of work-seekers with skills that match their needs;

    3. (advising them on the retrenchment of employees and the development of social plans; or

  5. any other prescribed employment service;

"government department" means any department or organisational component referred to in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994);

"Labour Court" means the Labour Court established by section 151 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995);

"Minister" means the Minister of Labour;

"National Skills Authority" means the National Skills Authority established by section 4;

"national skills development policy" means the national skills development policy referred to in section 5 (1) (a) (i);

"national skills development strategy" means the national skills development strategy referred to in section 5 (1) (a) (ii);

"National Skills Fund" means the National Skills Fund established by section 27;

"NEDLAC" means the National Economic Development and Labour Council established by section 2 of the National Economic Development and Labour Council Act, 1994 (Act No. 35 of 1994);

"prescribed" means prescribed by regulation;

"regulation" means a regulation made and in force in terms of section 36;

"SETA" means a sector education and training authority established in terms of section 9 (1);

"Skills Development Levies Act" means national legislation imposing levies for skills development;

"skills development levies" means the skills development levies payable in terms of the Skills Development Levies Act;

"South African Qualifications Authority" means the South African Qualification Authority established by section 3 of the South African Qualifications Authority Act;

"South African Qualifications Authority Act" means the South Africa Qualifications Authority Act, 1995 (Act No. 58 of 1995);

"this Act" includes any regulations but does not include the footnotes; and

"worker" includes an employee, an unemployed person and a work-seeker.

(Date of commencement of s. 1: 2 February, 1999.)



2.   Purposes of Act.--(1)  The purposes of this Act are--

(a) to develop the skills of the South African workforce--



  1. to improve the quality of life of workers, their prospects of work and labour mobility;

  2. to improve productivity in the workplace and the competitiveness of employers;

  3. to promote self-employment; and

  4. to improve the delivery of social services;

(b) to increase the levels of investment in education and training in the labour market and to improve the return on that investment;

(c) to encourage employers--



  1. to use the workplace as an active learning environment;

  2. to provide employees with the opportunities to acquire new skills;

  3. to provide opportunities for new entrants to the labour market to gain work experience; and

  4. to employ persons who find it difficult to be employed;

(d) to encourage workers to participate in learnership and other training programmes;

(e) to improve the employment prospects of persons previously disadvantaged by unfair discrimination and to redress those disadvantages through training and education;

( f ) to ensure the quality of education and training in and for the workplace;

(g) to assist--



  1. work-seekers to find work;

  2. retrenched workers to re-enter the labour market;

  3. employers to find qualified employees; and

(h) to provide and regulate employment services.

(2)  Those purposes are to be achieved by--

(a) establishing an institutional and financial framework comprising--


  1. the National Skills Authority;

  2. the National Skills Fund;

  3. a skills development levy-grant scheme as contemplated in the Skills Development Levies Act;

  4. SETAs;

  5. labour centres; and

  6. the Skills Development Planning Unit;

(b) encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors of the economy to provide education and training in and for the workplace; and

(c) co-operating with the South African Qualifications Authority.

(Date of commencement of s. 2: 2 February, 1999.)

3.   Interpretation.--Any person applying this Act must interpret its provisions to give effect to--

(a) its purposes; and

(b) the objects of the South African Qualifications Authority Act.

(Date of commencement of s. 3: 2 February, 1999.)



CHAPTER 2
NATIONAL SKILLS AUTHORITY

4.   Establishment of National Skills Authority.--The National Skills Authority is hereby established.

(Date of commencement: 2 February, 1999.)



5.   Functions of National Skills Authority.--(1)  The functions of the National Skills Authority are--

(a) to advise the Minister on--



  1. a national skills development policy;

  2. a national skills development strategy;

  3. guidelines on the implementation of the national skills development strategy;

  4. the allocation of subsidies from the National Skills Fund; and

  5. any regulations to be made;

(b) to liaise with SETAs on--

  1. the national skills development policy; and

  2. (the national skills development strategy;

(c) to report to the Minister in the prescribed manner on the progress made in the implementation of the national skills development strategy;

(d) to conduct investigations on any matter arising out of the application of this Act; and

(e) to exercise any other powers and perform any other duties conferred or imposed on the Authority by this Act.

(2)  For the purposes of investigations referred to in subsection (1) (d), the Authority has the prescribed powers of entry and to question and inspect.

(3)  The Authority must perform its functions in accordance with this Act and its constitution.

(Date of commencement of s. 5: 2 February, 1999.)



6.   Composition of National Skills Authority and term and vacation of office.--(1)  The National Skills Authority consists of--

  1. a voting chairperson appointed by the Minister;

  2. 24 voting and three non-voting members appointed by the Minister; and

  3. its non-voting executive officer appointed in terms of section 8 (2) (a).

(2)  The members referred to in subsection (1) (b) are--

  1. five voting members nominated by NEDLAC and appointed by the Minister to represent organised labour;

  2. five voting members nominated by NEDLAC and appointed by the Minister to represent organised business;

  3. five voting members nominated by NEDLAC and appointed by the Minister to represent organisations of community and development interests, which must include--

    1. a woman who represents the interests of women;

    2. a person who represents the interests of the youth; and

    3. a disabled person who represents the interests of people with disabilities;

  4. five voting members appointed by the Minister to represent the interests of the State;

  5. four voting members appointed by the Minister to represent the interests of education and training providers;

  6. two non-voting members, who have expertise in the provision of employment services, appointed by the Minister; and

  7. a non-voting member nominated by the South African Qualifications Authority and appointed by the Minister to represent that Authority.

(3)  The Minister must designate four members as deputy chairpersons, one deputy chairperson each from the members to be appointed to represent--

  1. organised labour;

  2. organised business;

  3. organisations of community and development interests; and

  4. the interests of the State.

(4)  A member of the Authority holds office for a period of three years and is eligible for re-appointment.

(5)  A member of the Authority vacates office if that member--



  1. is removed from office by the Minister as contemplated in subsection (6); or

  2. resigns by written notice addressed to the Minister.

(6)  The Minister may remove a member of the Authority--

  1. on the written request of the body that nominated that member in terms of subsection (2);

  2. for serious misconduct;

  3. for permanent incapacity;

  4. for absence from three consecutive meetings of the Authority--

    1. without the prior permission of the Authority; or

  5. unless the member shows good cause; or

  6. for engaging in any activity that may undermine the functions of the Authority.

(7)  If a member of the Authority vacates office before the expiry of the period of office, the Minister must, in terms of subsection (2), appoint a new member for the unexpired portion of that period.

(Date of commencement of s. 6: 2 February, 1999.)



7.   Constitution of National Skills Authority.--(1)  The National Skills Authority must, as soon as possible after the appointment of its members, adopt its constitution.

(2)  Subject to this Act, the constitution of the Authority--



  1. must provide for--

    1. procedures for the nominations of members of the Authority referred to in section 6 (2) (a), (b), (c) and (g);

    2. the establishment and functioning of committees, including an executive committee;

    3. subject to subsection (3), the rules for convening and conducting of meetings of the Authority and its committees, including the quorum required for and the minutes to be kept of those meetings;

    4. the voting rights of the different members and the manner in which decisions are to be taken by the Authority and its committees;

    5. a code of conduct for the members of the Authority;

    6. the determination through arbitration of any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the constitution; and

    7. subject to subsections (4) and (5), a procedure for amending the constitution and advising the Minister on regulations to be made; and

  2. may provide for--

    1. the delegation of powers and duties of the Authority to its members, committees and employees, provided that the Authority may impose conditions for the delegation, may not be divested of any power or duty by virtue of the delegation and may vary or set aside any decision made under any delegation; and

    2. any other matter necessary for the performance of the functions of the Authority.

(3)  At least 30 days notice must be given for a meeting of the Authority at which an amendment of the constitution or a regulation to be made is to be considered.

(4)  A supporting vote of at least two thirds of the Authority's members and the approval of the Minister is required for an amendment to its constitution.

(5)  A supporting vote of at least two-thirds of the Authority's members is required for advising the Minister on regulations to be made.

(6)  Despite subsection (2) (a) (i), the Minister must determine the procedure for the nominations for the first appointment of members of the Authority referred to in section 6 (2) (a), (b), (c) and (g).

(Date of commencement of s. 7: 2 February, 1999.)

8.   Remuneration and administration of National Skills Authority.--(1)  A member of the National Skills Authority who is not in the full-time employment of the State may be paid the remuneration and allowances determined by the Minister with the approval of the Minister of Finance.

(2)  Subject to the laws governing the public service, the Director-General must--



  1. appoint a person to be the executive officer of the National Skills Authority who will, upon such appointment, be in the employ of the public service; and

  2. provide the Authority with the personnel and financial resources that the Minister considers necessary for the performance of its functions.

(Date of commencement of s. 8: 2 February, 1999.)

CHAPTER 3
SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITIES

9.   Establishment of SETA.--(1)  The Minister may, in the prescribed manner, establish a sector education and training authority with a constitution for any national economic sector.

(2)  The Minister must determine a discrete sector for the purposes of subsection (1) by reference to categories of employers and for the purposes of that determination take into account--



  1. the education and training needs of employers and employees that--

    1. use similar materials, processes and technologies;

    2. make similar products; or

    3. render similar services;

  2. the potential of the proposed sector for coherent occupational structures and career pathing;

  3. the scope of any national strategies for economic growth and development;

  4. the organisational structures of the trade unions, employer organisations and government in closely related sectors;

  5. any consensus that there may be between organised labour, organised employers and relevant government departments as to the definition of any sector; and

  6. the financial and organisational ability of the proposed sector to support a SETA.

(3)  On the establishment of a SETA, the Minister may provide assistance to the SETA to enable it to perform its functions.

10.   Functions of SETA.--(1)  A SETA must--

  1. develop a sector skills plan within the framework of the national skills development strategy;

  2. implement its sector skills plan by--

    1. establishing learnerships;

    2. approving workplace skills plans;

    3. allocating grants in the prescribed manner to employers, education and training providers and workers; and

    4. monitoring education and training in the sector;

  3. promote learnerships by--

    1. identifying workplaces for practical work experience;

    2. supporting the development of learning materials;

    3. improving the facilitation of learning; and

    4. assisting in the conclusion of learnership agreements;

  4. register learnership agreements;

  5. within a week from its establishment, apply to the South African Qualifications Authority for accreditation as a body contemplated in section 5 (1) (a) (ii) (bb) and must, within 18 months from the date of that application, be so accredited;

  6. collect and disburse the skills development levies in its sector;

  7. liaise with the National Skills Authority on--

    1. the national skills development policy;

    2. the national skills development strategy; and

    3. its sector skills plan;

  8. report to the Director-General on--

    1. its income and expenditure; and

    2. the implementation of its sector skills plan;

  9. liaise with the employment services of the Department and any education body established under any law regulating education in the Republic to improve information--

    1. about employment opportunities; and

    2. between education and training providers and the labour market;

  10. appoint staff necessary for the performance of its functions; and

  11. perform any other duties imposed by this Act or consistent with the purposes of this Act.

(2)  A SETA has--

  1. all such powers as are necessary to enable it to perform its duties referred to in subsection (1); and

  2. the other powers conferred on the SETA by this Act.

(3)  A SETA must perform its functions in accordance with this Act and its constitution.

11.   Composition of SETA.--A SETA may consist only of members representing--

  1. organised labour;

  2. organised employers, including small business;

  3. relevant government departments; and

  4. if the Minister, after consultation with the members referred to in paragraph (a), (b) and (c), considers it appropriate for the sector--

    1. any interested professional body;

    2. any bargaining council with jurisdiction in the sector.

12.   Chambers of SETA.--(1)  A SETA may, with the Minister's approval, establish in its sector chambers.

(2)  A chamber so established must consist of an equal number of members representing employees and employers and may include such additional members as the SETA determines.

(3)  That chamber must perform those functions of the SETA as delegated to it in terms of the constitution of the SETA.

(4)  A chamber of a SETA is entitled to such percentage of the skills development levies collected in its jurisdiction as the Minister after consultation with the SETA determines.



13.   Constitution of SETA.--(1)  For the purpose of the establishment of a SETA, the Minister must approve the constitution of the SETA.

(2)  The Minister may, after consultation with the SETA, amend its constitution in the prescribed manner.



(3)  Subject to this Act, the constitution of a SETA--

  1. must specify--

    1. the trade unions, employer organisations and relevant government departments in the sector;

    2. the circumstances and manner in which a member of SETA may be replaced;

    3. the number of members to be appointed to the SETA, provided that the SETA must consist of an equal number of members representing employees and employers;

    4. the procedure for the replacement of a member of the SETA by the organisation that nominated that member;

    5. the circumstances and manner in which a member may be replaced by the SETA;

    6. the election of office-bearers by the members of the SETA and of persons to act during their absence or incapacity, their term of office and functions and the circumstances and manner in which they may be replaced;

    7. the establishment and functioning of committees, including an executive committee;

    8. the rules for convening and conducting of meetings of the SETA and its chambers and committees, including the quorum required for and the minutes to be kept of those meetings;

    9. the voting rights of the different members and the manner in which decisions are to be taken by the SETA and its chambers and committees;

    10. a code of conduct for members of the SETA and its chambers;

    11. the appointment of an executive officer, and such other employees necessary for the effective performance of the functions of the SETA, by its members, including the determination of their terms and conditions of employment; and

    12. the determination through arbitration of any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the constitution; and

  2. may provide for--

    1. the delegation of powers and duties of the SETA to its members, chambers, committees and employees, provided that the SETA may impose conditions for the delegation, may not be divested of any power or duty by virtue of the delegation and may vary or set aside any decision made under any delegation; and

    2. any other matter necessary for the performance of the functions of the SETA.
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