An evaluation of the National Skills Development Act No. 97 of 1998 as amended in 2008 (Act 37 of 2008) as a tool against unemployment and poverty alleviation in the Republic of South Africa (RSA)

18 Dec 2020

The National Skills Development Act, Act 97 of 1998, as amended in 2008 is part of the legislative chassis against unemployment, skills shortage and poverty caused by the legacy of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. The policy chassis to counter these three problems include, but not limited to, the following: Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP); Growth Employment and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR); Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP); Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA); Growth New Path (GNP); and the National Development Plan (NDP). Notwithstanding the adoption of the Skills Development Act in 1998, skills shortage remains unabated. The unemployment rate, particularly amongst the youth, could be one of the indicators of skills shortage. This state of affairs brings into question, inter alia, the effectiveness of policies designed to alleviate poverty and unemployment, particularly where jobless citizens are recurrently dependent on the government's safety net to make a living. This set of circumstances prompted an evaluation of the National Skills Development Act, Act 97 of 1998 within the 'enabling' policy framework. A Social Welfare Policy Analysis Model by Segal (2012) was used to analyse the Act. The model's basic tenets are social issue/ social problem that gave rise to the policy, the goal of the policy or legislation, implementation of social welfare programme towards affected populations; and the intended and actual impact of the policy. The model confirms scientific and anecdotal evidence that poverty, unemployment and inequality are serious challenges in South Africa. Further than that, the provision of necessary skills for the South African market is still a problem. Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) continue to invest huge sums of money to address the skills shortage with little visible results as the country continues to bleed jobs every day.