Seta Levies under the Microscope

It appears that it is not only schools that have educational problems. The Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (Setas) still have their fair share of troubles.

New Seta grant regulations came into effect on 1 April, aiming to improve “the focus, management and effectiveness of Seta grant spending”, according to Legalbrief.

“Draft regulations were published in January 2012 for comment. According to section 9(2) of the new regulations, among the criteria an employer is required to comply with when seeking to recover a grant against a levy payment is the development of ‘a workplace skills plan and pivotal training report, that contributes to the relevant Seta sector skills plan’, as contemplated in section 10(1) of Skills Development Act 97/1998.”

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) is now taking the Minister of Higher Education and Training to court over amended regulations for subsidies to Setas. These measures, in the view of Busa, can disrupt skills development programs and training activities.

Government is aware of the problems Setas are experiencing, and, in order to guide and support Setas in formulating their new plans, a framework has been issued and a task team appointed where ‘all government departments’ are represented. The task team met for the first time during March and is expected to convene again this month.

In essence, the grants were reduced from 50% of the levies paid, to 20%, unless new, stringent requirements are met. Further problems may flow from certain conditions regarding race, gender and handicapped applicants.

The availability of grants was intended as an incentive for people in the financial services industry to become involved in training and development of staff. Reducing such incentives, and increasing administrative burdens, is highly likely to deter employers from participation.

A more detailed article on how the financial sector is affected by these new regulations will be published on Thursday in the Moonstone Monitor.

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