Skills development is a national priority for South Africa and meeting the country’s skills needs requires collaboration between numerous public and government entities, educational institutions, training providers, as well as private organisations, no matter how big or small.

When we talk about skills development, it’s about changing people’s lives, about enhancing their employability and about aligning skills to our economy. The Skills Development Levies Act (No 9 of 1999) (SDLA) established a compulsory levy scheme for the purpose of funding education and training as envisaged in the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998) (SDA). The levy became payable with effect from 1 April 2000. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in conjunction with South Africa’s SETAs, is responsible for administering the Act, while the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is responsible for the collection of levies.


Employers liable for payment of the Skills Development Levy (SDL) to SARS, have to nominate the SETA related to their core business upon registration. The SDL is paid monthly to SARS together with PAYE and UIF contributions, and SARS then allocates this to the relevant SETA. Any employer exempt from SDL payment can apply for registration as an HWSETA non-levy paying member, if its core business relates to the sectors served by the HWSETA.


Employers can claim 20% of its total levy contribution annually, called the Mandatory Grant, through submission of a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Actual Training Report (ATR) that are due by latest 30 April each year. Only levy paying organisations may access mandatory grant funding. Discretionary funds consist of 49.5% of levy contributions, as well as all monies related to unclaimed Mandatory Grants. Discretionary grants are available to both levy- and non-levy paying organisations, and are based on the submission of an Expression of Interest. Employers have a critical role to play in developing a skilled workforce. Contact your local HWSETA office for assistance, contact details for all the HWSETA offices in the country are available here.