Mar 15, 2012
'Scandalous' bungling leaves young electricians without proof of qualificationBack
Cape Town|Construction|Engineering|Germiston|Africa|Education|System|Training|Water|Africa|South Africa|Energy|Services|Blade Nzimande|Chris Greager|Mark Mfikoe|Water|Maryland
© Reuse this
The bungling has left some young artisans, who passed their trade test over two years ago, without the certificate proving that they are qualified electricians.
President Mark Mfikoe has also expressed deep frustration with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET’s) handling of the “crisis”, indicating that commitments made during several meetings, which took place between April 2010 and December 2011, have not yet been honoured.
ECA(SA) is particularly exasperated by a failure of the Ceta to renew training accreditation licences for its centres in Germiston and Cape Town, as well as the body’s failure to issue trade-test certificates for more than 100 candidates who have already passed their courses at registered training centres. In the absence of such certificates the individuals are unable to register as certified electricians.
Mfikoe, who is also MD of Tlhabollo Electrical, says at his company alone, three people are affected by the administrative “scandal”, which is also harming the image of an occupation that is already struggling to attract young talent – the average age of practitioners has now breached 58 years.
“All N6 electrical engineering graduates passed the installation rules examination, passed their trade test and the qualifying module, where they tested five installations and were judged to be competent. [But] they cannot get their licences as registered electricians because the Ceta will not issue the trade test certificate,” he laments.
National director Chris Greager reports that ECS(SA) has submitted 100 apprenticeship contracts to the Ceta for registration. But only 15 have been returned, with the balance having been "sitting there for months", despite the fact that they are supposed to be processed within 21 days.
"We have another 100 people who have passed their trade tests still waiting for their trade test certificates, some of them for in excess of two years," an exasperated Greager reports. "They cannot work as electricians without that certificate, that is their diploma."
The issue has been raised directly, as well as through written correspondence, with the Ceta, the DHET and with Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande. However, “absolutely nothing” has been done to address the administrative backlogs.
“Millions have been raised from companies via the skills development levy and millions are stashed away. But very little training is happening,” Mfikoe laments, noting that after the energy and water sector education and training authority was placed into administration, ECA(SA) members were transferred to the equally dysfunctional Ceta.
Members have also become increasingly reluctant to support training, with hundreds of thousands of rands owing from Ceta’s discretionary grants having never been disbursed.
The absence of such training incentives became so acute that demand for ECA(SA) courses fell to a level where it became uneconomical to continue with its Durban training centre, which it closed last year. “This at a time when we are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of electricians.”
Greager says ECS(SA), which is an employer body representing 3 000 members, many of which are small or micro businesses, is also concerned that the lack of accreditation licence renewals at its two remaining centres could have implications for those currently pursuing their artisan training at the facilities.
It had, therefore, secured the services of an attorney to seek to force the Ceta to expedite the licensing process.
But Ceta's acting CEO Sonja Pilusa has denied the accusations.
She says it is not true that the Ceta has failed to renew training accreditation licences for ECA(SA) training centres in Germiston and Cape Town and that it is also untrue that a number of trade test certificates are still outstanding. However, she did not offer a detailed rebuttal in emailed responses to questions sent to her by Engineering News Online. It is understood that a number of the Ceta executives, including Pilusa, are currently on a strategic breakaway session.
At the time of publication, the DHET had not responded to Engineering News Online questions directed to them on the issues canvassed by ECA(SA). However, speaking in Parliament earlier in the month, Nzimande said there was little to show for the R37.5-billion that had been directed into the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) system since 2000. He even went so far as to say that some board members and Seta executives were simply enriching themselves.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Forest products group Sappi has confirmed the selection of its 25 MW biomass-to-power project, to be erected at its Ngodwana mill, in Mpumalanga, as a preferred bidder under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement...
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
Another cement manufacturer is set to enter the Ugandan market, raising hopes that prices will come down and spur growth in the construction industry. National Cement, a Kenyan manufacturer, has unveiled plans to invest $195-million in a new manufacturing plant in...
With growth rates exceeding that in the developed world – at an average of between 4% and 5% between 2002 and 2014 – African countries provide investors with ample reason to tap into booming consumer demand says Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad...
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) decreased by 3.7 index points month-on-month to 89.1 in March.