Training and Development
By the time you read this most South Africans will have started their annual festive season holidays. It has been a challenging year for the country, with a variety of major issues on the political and economic front headlining news throughout the year. The latest water crisis and drought, and predicted consequences, top the list of issues South Africans are facing at present.
December holiday plans and festive season family gatherings are on the top of the majority of South Africans minds at the moment as the country enters into a period of carefree limbo. The annual exodus of people to coastal towns, will as a consequence bring with it daily reports of the number of traffic incidents and statistics on fatalities, which has become a sad tradition. Appeals by authorities for motorists to abide by the rules of the road remain largely ignored, and as a consequence this December is bound to be no different. I certainly hope that I am proved wrong on this statement.
My wish is that you enjoy your festive season. If you are travelling, travel safely and remember there are water shortages due to the drought and the onus is on all of us to act as responsible citizens of the country.
This month I am not reporting on SAPA projects. I have however included an article on the KZNPI as well as on the future of the SETAS and
the current water crisis.
KZNPI gratefully acknowledges sponsorship
Nestled alongside the Bisley Valley Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, the Kwazulu-natal Poultry Institute continues in a small way to play a pivotal role in skills development and uplifting communities in Africa. Formed in the early 1990’s largely as a producer organisation, the Institute has adapted over the years in accordance with changing agricultural and economic landscapes. Now registered as a non-profit company, its core business is providing practical training in poultry production to people from all walks of life.
Janet Lee, General Manager – Training, at the Institute, says unlike other learning institutions in South Africa, the Institute survives without any government or corporate funding. Following the
introduction of the statutory levy, the former fee-paying members in the province dwindled and the Institute was forced to reinvent itself and formulate a new business model. Enormous efforts have been made over the years by the dedicated team of staff members who are all passionate about chickens and knowledge transfer. The management committee and board members, made up of both producers and industry role players, have also contributed significantly over time to devising strategies to keep the Institute relevant.
The past two years have been particularly difficult as both the public and private sectors have reduced their training budgets. Maintaining the assets, which comprise the administrative offices, lecture facilities, hostels and training farm, has been challenging. A number of experts have in recent months willingly given their time and offered free advice on various issues.
It was a huge relief when sponsors stepped forward in response to pleas for help. The KZNPI would like to convey sincere gratitude to the following organisations:
• Meadow Feeds, for the generous donation of a year’s supply of broiler and breeder feed;
• Inverness Rearing, for supplying heatresistant roof paint and for organising the refurbishment of pullet rearing and layer houses;
• Big Dutchman, for overhauling the ventilation system in the pullet rearing house;
• Afrifoam, for insulating the pullet and layer houses;
• Dynamic Fibre Moulding for egg packaging material;
• Cobb SA and Ross Poultry Breeders, for supplying day-old parent chicks;
• Deltamune for sponsoring diagnostics;
• Hy-line SA, for donating day-old pullets;
• Pathogen & Environmental Solutions for rodent control products;
• Keystone Hatchery, for renovating hatchery equipment and building. The Institute has two fulltime facilitators, who present short courses in English and Isizulu, and makes use of a number of consultant facilitators who are specialists in their fields. Courses on offer include broiler production, hatchery management, broiler breeders and commercial layers. Theoretical training is reinforced by practical→
work done on the attached farm. Intensive workshops on Business Skills and Supervisory Skills aimed at poultry farmers have proved to be very popular.
Grateful thanks to the numerous individuals, government departments and organisations that show confidence in the KwazuluNatal Institute by continuing to send delegates for training. The year 2016 looks to be a bright one!
Nzimande to scrap SETAS
The 21 sector education and training authorities (SETAS), which receive more than an annual R13 billion in ring-fenced funds, are set to be scrapped, according to a report on News 24. Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande gazetted a sweeping proposal on the future of the SETAS this week, giving them two more years to operate before they stop being “authorities” and become “advisory boards” (Setabs) with very little of their current operational role remaining.
Most importantly, the SETAS will lose control of a massive chunk of the skills levy South Africa exacts from all employers who have more than 50 workers. This 1% payroll tax is estimated to reach R16.7 billion this year and keep growing faster than normal tax funds for higher education.
The proposal sees 40% of this levy money, which is flowing to the SETAS for use in their respective sectors, going to the National Skills Fund to be centrally administered. The public release of the proposal comes in the middle of a legal battle over Nzimande’s previous intervention in the Seta system late last year.
The proposal depends on Nzimande’s department of higher education and training winning that case in the Labour Appeal Court. The case stems from a regulation that cuts down the amount of levy money the SETAS could pass straight back to the levy-paying employers – the mandatory grant.
It used to be 50% of the levy, but Nzimande cut it down to 20%, with the rest falling into the Seta budget for discretionary grants. It is this discretionary grant money that the proposal now wants to move out of the SETAS altogether. However, a court challenge by Business Unity SA has suspended Nzimande’s reform, which he has appealed.
New approach needed to water use
The worst drought in decades in South Africa will have farreaching impacts, but will also motivate the government, businesses and consumers to change the way they use water. Drought was inevitable in one of the world’s scarcest countries according to Ruwayda Redfearn, Office Managing Partner and the head of Risk Advisory for Deloitte in Kwazulu-natal, quoted in Bizcommunity.
“Many South Africans are at last realising just what a precious resource this is. This drought is undoubtedly forcing a change in mind-set and we need to join together to take this far further than short-term interventions, no matter how important these are. We need to consider climate change, food security, sustainability and find proactive solutions,” she said, adding that when it came to scenario planning, a longerterm 10-year plan was needed. Proactive solutions such as increased use of green building practices, better maintenance of water infrastructure, water recycling plants, on-site water recycling measures such as rainwater harvesting and the re-use of grey water as well as better pollution control to free up currently unusable water sources needed to move to the top of the agenda.
She said South Africa could no longer afford waterthirsty projects and local and provincial government, town planners, developers, architects and the construction industry needed to see this as an opportunity rather than a constraint. But, in the interim, all need to brace themselves for the far-reaching consequences of this severe drought as the necessary rainfall is only expected by March 2016. Already, this has become a national issue with five provinces - Kwazulu-natal, the Free State, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga - officially declared drought disaster areas.
According to recent statistics, the agricultural sector has contracted by more than 17 percent quarter on quarter. Farmers are expected to lose about R10-billion this year with Grainsa predicting a 29 percent decrease in the basket of summer crops. Last year’s maize output of 14,3 million tonnes is expected to shrink to by 31 percent to 9.8 million tonnes.