Today's Labour News

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artisan2Sunday Times Business Times reports that according to Mvuyisi Macikama, CEO of the National Skills Fund (NSF), billions of rands earmarked by for the development of badly needed artisans have been blown by the government on university students instead.  

SA is so short of artisans it is having to import them, but universities, on the other hand, are said to be churning out so many students with "soft" degrees that the market cannot absorb them.  "Our money has been spent for something other than the key areas we're supposed to be focusing on," Macikama observed.  He pointed out that the NSF's 2017-2018 annual report tabled in parliament last week indicated that the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) had taken R6.56bn from the NSF's accumulated surplus to pay for the government's no-fee increase promise to university students.  In 2016, NSF coffers were raided to the tune of R1.27bn, and this shot up to a whopping R5.28bn last year.  The NSF intended spending R1.5bn of this money on "reactivating" the capacity of state-owned enterprises like Eskom, Transnet, Denel and SAA Technical to provide the kind of artisan training they did in the past.  It had allocated another R1.5bn to turn the country's technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVETs), most of which Macikama said were just glorified schools, into institutions that offered "occupationally directed" programmes.  The raiding of funds would make the National Development Plan's goal of 30,000 artisans a year by 2030 impossible to meet, Macikama reckoned.  Only 21,000 artisans a year are being produced at the moment.

  • Read more of this Sunday Times Business Times by Chris Barron at SA Labour News

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