Addressing skills deficits in the economy and implementing intervention plans to develop human resources is essential to developing the South African economy and ensuring higher rates of employment.
The need for a robust HRD strategy is still as prevalent in South Africa today as it was at the beginning of our democracy in 1994 and current challenges facing human resources influence our policy framework.
A prevalent inefficiency that we face is “bottlenecks and logjams in the skills pipeline” which affects our goals around human resources development. Our framework is founded on broad-based and opportunity-specific HRD strategies that are aligned with South Africa’s present economic needs.
Our strategy has been aligned with increasing competition and the expansion of global production systems, as well as addressing equity and reducing poverty and inequality throughout South Africa.
Our priority is to accelerate development to match supply and demand for skilled workforce, and therefore our approach is diverse and includes both high and intermediate skill development. Our demand strategy aligns with a large-scale employment growth supported through skills training at lower levels.
We aim to impact all institutions, policies and processes both within and outside of governmental systems, including public and private entities and NGOs.
Key Government Line Departments
The HRDC has an obligation, as part of its mandate of monitoring the implementation of the HRD Strategy by key line departments and implementing agencies. In a similar way the following government line departments are obligated within the HRD Strategy to implement and report progress on specific commitments and strategic goals of the HRD Strategy:
Department of Basic Education is responsible for the implementation of commitment 3 of the HRD Strategy 2010-2030 which deals with ensuring delivery of quality basic education in the country as well as increasing access and improving the quality and quantity of matric results. The DBE is also responsible for delivering on Strategic Goal 1 and Programme 1 of the Revised HRD Strategy Towards 2030 which deals with the strengthening of STEM disciplines as well as Language and life skills
Department of Science and Technology is responsible for the implementation of commitment 6 of the HRD Strategy which deals with the improvement of the country’s science, technology and innovation capability as well as ensuring enough national research capacity. It is also responsible for delivering on Strategic Goal 3 and Programme 3 of the Revised HRDSA Towards 2030 which deals with research and technological outcomes.
Department of Public Service and Administration is responsible for the implementation of Commitment 7 which accounts for the capacitation of all public servants in order to ensure effective service delivery. It also has to deliver on strategic goal 5 and programme 5 of the Revised HRD Strategy towards 2030, which deals with a developmental/capable state. The DPSA is also responsible for implementation and monitoring of the Public Service Human Resource Development Strategy.
The Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for all post schooling education and training in the country and for the implementation of 75% of the HRD Strategy commitments (commitments 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 & 8) as well as strategic goals 2, 3 and 4 and programmes 2, 3 and 4 of the revised strategy towards 2030 which deal with access and quality of post school education and training, higher education & training and Production of skilled people for the economy. The Department of Higher Education and Training also manages the HRDC Secretariat through the office of the responsible Minister.
Provincial Coordinating Forum
The HRD Provincial Coordinating Forum was established in July 2011 to ensure coordination, alignment, integration, communication, collaboration, implementation and reporting of HRD imperatives with the Provincial Growth and Development Plans (PGDP) focusing on human resource and skills development as well as Local Economic Development Plans.
It encouraged provinces to form their own HRD Provincial Councils in the Premiers’ offices in view of the fact that all provinces have their own unique human resource imperatives in addition to the shared HRD issues. Since the establishment of the Provincial Coordinating Forum, the HRD Secretariat has been working with the provinces to understand the needs and challenges they face and to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their role within the broader HRD agenda of the country. In accordance with the stipulations of the Human Resource Development Strategy of ensuring quarterly reporting on the progress of provincial implementation of the HRD Strategy and provincial HRD imperatives.
The HRD Council recognises that each province has unique issues and challenges relating to implementation of HRD imperatives and encourages individual provinces to include in their HRD reports successes and challenges relating to local key economic drivers and related skills requirements.
Reporting by the provinces does not focus only on the work of Government and Provincial Department imperatives but takes into account HRD issues by the local industry, organised labour and other key social partners’ perspectives and made a permanent part of reporting. Thus the HRDC obtains a holistic picture of HRD initiatives within provinces, which also includes the role of all social partners. Provinces are encouraged to find innovative ways of collecting information from social partners and preparing reports for the HRDC that will provide a broader understanding of human resource and skills development for the whole province.
From September 2018, the HRDC took the decision to invite chairpersons (Premiers) of provincial councils to sit in council meetings and represent the interests of their province.