Interview with Dr. Hoosen Rasool

Dr. Hoosen Rasool
Dr. Hoosen Rasool

“SETA" stands for Sector Education and Training Authority, organisations established by the Honourable Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, on 20 March 2000. There are at present 23 SETAs operational in South Africa. The main function of a SETA is to contribute to the raising of skills, to bring skills to the employed, or those wanting to be employed in their sector. They do this by helping to implement the National Skills Development Strategy and ensuring that people learn skills that are needed by employers and communities. The CTFL SETA serves four manufacturing sub-sectors, namely, Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather manufacturing companies. The Clothing sector represents companies that manufacture products such as mens-, ladies- and childrenswear, underwear, sportswear, outerwear and millinery items such as hats and caps. The Textiles sector consists of companies that manufacture textile products through various processes, for example, the spinning of yarn from natural or man made fibres, the weaving/knitting of fabrics from spun yarn, the dyeing and printing of fabrics, the manufacture of textile floor coverings (carpets), the manufacture of flock and felt products and the manufacture of industrial (performance) textiles. The Footwear and Leather sector comprises of three distinct sub-sectors, namely, tanners and dressers of leather, manufacturers of footwear (from leather or other products) and the manufacturers of general goods and handbags (including luggage/travel goods) from leather or other products.

Can you brief us on the history and core activities of SETA?

"In order to address the skills shortages in South Africa since the advent of democracy, the post-apartheid government established 25 sector education and training authorities (SETAs). The Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather Sector Education and Training Authority (CTFL SETA) was established in 2000 with the aim of promoting skills development in these mentioned industries. This is achieved by developing national qualifications for workers in manufacturing processes, encouraging workers to register on learnerships and apprenticeships to achieve these qualifications, quality assuring training in the workplace to meet industry standards, providing grants to universities to produce graduate technologists, making available training grants to manufacturing firms and encouraging firms to link their business objectives with training in the workplace by producing workplace skills plans and reports. In addition, the CTFL SETA sponsors a host of skills development projects for clusters of firms in geographic areas to improve their competitiveness in all areas of operations."

Generally, what benefits do members derive from SETA?

"Member firms receive grants to undertake training for their workforce in critical skills areas. They also receive on-site training support from CTFL SETA accredited technical training experts at no cost. The CTFL SETA accredits firms to offer learnerships and apprenticeships, provides them with learning and assessment materials and monitors the progress of their workers on training. We make available to firms the best practices in the field of training to up-skill the workforce. This takes the form of workshops, training forums and tool-kits given to firms."

What is the ‘skills development levy’?

Any registered firm doing business in South Africa must by law pay a skills development levy which equals 1% of their total annual payroll. Most of this levy is transferred to the appropriate SETA to incentivised firms within its sector to participate in training initiatives with a view to improve competitiveness and offer opportunities to workers by way of training and development.

How does a new company register for the Skills Development Levy?

They simply contact the South African Revenue Services (SARS) who is responsible for the collection of skills levies. SARS assists them with the registration process which is a relatively simple matter. Once registered, a firm is assigned a Skills Development Levy number which enables them to partake in SETA activities.

What are your expectations from the Government and how can the situation be turned to advantage the textile industry as a whole?

The South Africa government has created an enabling environment to encourage the development of skills in the clothing, textiles, footwear and leather sector. It is really the responsibility of employers and the trade unions to give effect to the skills development legislation by encouraging their constituencies to invest in skills development and utilize the training incentives offered by the SETAs.

As a CEO, what are your goals for the upcoming year?

My primary goal is to ensure that the many training projects that we offer go according to schedule and that a wide number of firms engage in the activities of the SETA. We have developed a Sector Skills Plan for the designated industries and have linked skills development to the most critical human resource needs of the industry. I want to ensure that the training projects of the SETA add values to firms by improving productivity.

What else 'exciting' is happening within the organization?

We have a Fashion Festival coming up in December, organized by the major union, the South African Clothing and Textiles Union. We intend participating actively in the festival which takes place in Cape Town. We are also having a strategic planning workshop for our stakeholders. A number of leading figures in the sector will make presentations. The planning workshop generates a wealth of new ideas to improve the skills of workers in the industry which we pursue through a range of projects.
Published on: 13/11/2006

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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