Status of the phasing out of the chamber of mines of South Africa certificates of competency

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • SDG 11
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: The Chamber of Mines of South Africa (COMSA) certificates were introduced to standardize stand-alone in-house qualifications for persons working in the mining industry. When the Higher Education Qualification Framework (HEQF) Act was introduced in 2007, one of the unintended consequences was that it meant by implication that the COMSA could no longer issue qualifications. In response to these developments, the intention was to phase out COMSA certificates by establishing a deadline for the last entry for new candidates into the COMSA system of the 31st of August 2015, before it was finally recognized that these changes will have a wider impact in industry that included the Mine Environmental and Rock Engineering disciplines. Three institutes, namely the Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa (IMSSA), the South African National Institute for Rock Engineers (SANIRE) and the Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVSSA) made a combined representation where it was agreed that deadline could be extended for the final time to the 31st of August 2018. This means that the complete suite of new qualifications must be registered with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the correct level and provided by approved training institutions and accredited by the Mine Qualification Authority (MQA) and the three professional institutes respectively. The application process to have a course approved is tenuous at best and it is anticipated that a minimum of two years will be required to get one level of qualification approved. The positive spin-off of this crisis is that “learned societies” and professional bodies involved in the mining service sector were forced to develop a range of recognized vocational qualifications to develop the skills within industry. This paper outlines the requirements for the qualifications and outlines the progress made towards the development thereof.