UNEMPLOYMENT rate guaranteed to hit the 50% mark before the end of 2024.

South Africa’s unemployment rate is about to reach a historic high of over 50% by the end of 2024, despite recent assurances made during the National Skills Summit on April 23, 2024.  These assurances, delivered by the Minister of Higher Education, come amidst ongoing scrutiny over various issues.

Call me a fortune teller, call me anything you want, but when you see the headlines, remember this article about thousands of private training providers who pleaded for months with the Minister to come to his senses.  #StudentsMustFall, we read your post, and we feel your frustration.  Soon we will all feel the same fate for those who lost out on employment and self-employment.

We’re not driven by political motives; our goal is straightforward: to hit back at hindrances to Black Empowerment, declining self-employment, increasing unemployment rates, failure to tackle critical skills shortages, inadequate communication with stakeholders and the stalling of rural development initiatives.  (Most of these are directly linked to the president’s targets presented in the April 2024 Skill Summit presentation).  It’s time for action; it appears that mere discussion no longer garners attention.

The historical qualifications (through the SETAs) have expired in 2023 and last date for enrolments are set for the end of June 2024.  The new occupational qualifications (through the QCTO) are set to take over from July 2024.

So let’s go and check some facts:

  1. QCTO was established in 2010, fourteen years ago, yet they still lack control over their mandate.
  2. There are hundreds of qualifications which expired in June 2023, with last enrolments set for the end of June 2024, that are still not developed to take over. Currently, we have two months to go.
  3. We have qualifications under the QCTO that are soon set to expire (for review) with still no exam centres registered in South Africa, three years after they were introduced.
  4. The few new qualifications that have been developed to date is not going to contribute to the South African economy or the unemployment For example: We have critical safety and hazard qualifications that are still not developed, but don’t stress, we have the gardener and taxi operator covered.
  5. Exam centres, EISA centres which were recently introduced, is just another money-making scheme added to the unregulated process. It’s not going to add value to one’s education or add credibility to one’s certificate.  It’s just another process and people money making from it.
  6. Communicating or facilitating the QCTO process to the general public by consultants is forbidden.
  7. Over the last fourteen years, the QCTO has conducted only three public workshops, one in each of the three major cities. However, attendees found them poorly presented, resembling dictatorial proceedings.  Our questions remain unanswered, leaving us still seeking clarity.
  8. Virtual sessions were conducted with extremely poor advertising and strict limitations on attendance. Posting content on YouTube doesn’t facilitate public participation.
  9. Other virtual sessions were offered through third parties, with the QCTO present, and these either:
  10. a) requested payment to attend, or
  11. b) were organizational membership-based, or
  12. c) was not recognised by any of the Higher Educations institutions in South Africa, or
  13. d) were conducted to promote a specific online college/company.

Our persistent requests for free and publicly accessible workshops remain unanswered.

  1. Based on data from SAQA in December 2019 and current figures from QCTO as of December 2023, we are set to take over with Occupational Qualifications with over 6000 private training providers in two months’ time. The sad reality is that the majority of these providers are set to close their doors due to a lack of resources or capital to sustain operations.  We, the South Africa Training Providers Forum, currently representing 3084 people, which consists of training providers, consultants and professionals (trainers, assessors and moderators), are intimately aware of their situation and frustrations.
  2. Becoming a registered Training Provider with the QCTO is financially unviable, even if you have the necessary capital and resources at your disposal. Red tape has been added surpassing those typically encountered by colleges, let alone businesses like supermarkets, pubs, restaurants or nightclubs.  Only one example includes the following:
    1. Numerous small training providers have traditionally offered single unit standards and lacked their own facilities or equipment, like classrooms, tractors or forklifts, instead conducting training at their clients’ sites for years. These small businesses now face challenges in obtaining accreditation with the QCTO, as the QCTO requires each training provider to have their own classrooms and equipment.
    2. Additionally, the QCTO requires approval for each training session conducted off-site, posing significant logistical and financial hurdles, especially for short skills programs within limited timeframes and budgets.
  3. Trainers, assessors, and moderators, who have dedicated themselves to this industry, are feeling adrift. To date they have received no communication about the implications of transitioning to QCTO.  Some are not even aware that such a transition is happening.  For those in the know, uncertainty clouds their path: Will their previous assessor and moderator courses hold weight?  Should they first undergo training in registered QCTO courses to obtain statements of results before applying for registration as assessors and moderators?  Who will fund this for them?  Additionally, confusion persists about whether to apply through the Setas or directly with QCTO.  They find themselves utterly bewildered.
  4. The Department of Employment and Labour mandates that employers train their employees in specific safety fields, which falls outside the current scope of QCTO’s mandate. This raises a critical question: should employers opt for non-accredited training options to meet requirements, or risk non-compliance with the Department of Employment and Labour?
  5. Sponsoring learnership for BEE points and TAX rebates will soon become a thing of the past. The system is simply not geared up for it and no interest is shown in addressing
  6. For the past 14 years, the DICTATORSHIP QCTO has consistently failed to effectively communicate events, resources or news to its stakeholders. Even subscribing to their emails or registering with the QCTO as a training provider does not guarantee receipt of information.  Communication typically occurs with select stakeholders only days or hours before the event via social media channels.


A petition is currently underway with the aim of requesting an extension for the historical SAQA qualifications and unit standards until replacements are registered for all of them under QCTO.  Additionally, we are advocating for sufficient time to be provided after the registration of all qualifications and skills programs under the QCTO for training providers, assessors, and moderators to apply for and receive accreditation and registration.  As of now, we are just over halfway to our goal of ten thousand participants.  The link to the petition can be found on the South Africa Training Providers Forum’s website.  We encourage anyone impacted by these changes to visit the South African Training Providers Forum’s website or Facebook page and sign the petition.  Your support is essential for advancing our shared objectives.

As the majority echoes “Amen,” we’ve expressed everything.  We warned you, we pleaded with you, and we begged you.  Now, we’re all destined to become yet another statistic in South Africa.

Could a plea to international investors potentially yield a difference?

South African Training Providers Forum