By Mark Mfikoe, ECA(SA) National Director

Mark Mfikoe, ECA(SA) National Director

The ECA(SA) has been granted an opportunity to participate in the labour activation project to enhance the economic participation by the contributors to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) over the years. Ordinarily, employees and employers contribute to the UIF and wait for the time that they would be out of employment for them to start participating in the benefits occasioned by their contributions during their time as employees. 

The objective of this project is to qualify the learning beneficiaries to become artisans in the Electrical Construction Industry.  The Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) code of this qualification is 671101 and the Trade is ‘Electrician’ with specialisation in ‘Construction’. All the beneficiaries will be given an opportunity to qualify for this Trade Qualification following the successful implementation of the project. 

The UIF appointed the National Skills Fund (NSF) to be the Project Manager to execute the project on their behalf and the qualified electricians will be registered with the Department of Labour as Registered Persons in terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations as Single Phase Testers. This will qualify them to supervise and control installations in single phase domestic dwellings. They would also be in a position to issue Certificates of Compliance for such dwellings either as employees or as employers of others.

This qualification is also a requirement for persons to become wiremen on completion of additional requirements. This is in line with the training philosophy of the Republic that every qualification must lead to the next qualification. The Main Collective Agreement of the industry recognises this qualification and the role that persons so qualified play in the industry. It does so by specifying their remuneration and the social security benefits they would participate in by being employed as Artisans. All they would need to do in addition is an Inspection and Testing unit standard, pass Installation Rules Paper 1 and 2, a CoC course and N3/Technical matric. It therefore puts the learners on a pathway to a higher qualification.

The targeted group is experienced semi-skilled employees and ex-employees with at least five years’ experience in the Electrical Contracting Industry with at least Electrical Contracting Operative (Elconop) Level 2 designation or Electrical Contracting Operative Level 3.

These are recognised employment categories in the Electrical Contracting Industry and are scheduled in the Main Collective Agreement.  These would be employees that have become or are likely to become victims of job losses occasioned by reduction in labour, insolvency, and operational requirements of businesses. At the moment, business is tough and we must use all the keys we can access to open doors that have remained locked or even doors we did not realise existed.

In the townships where the majority of the citizens of this country live, there are not enough electrical contracting services and yet electricity is consumed. If we qualify more people from these areas, they will and must start offering these services to their fellow community members and deliver safe and compliant installations. Electricity doesn’t have to kill anyone. It can only do so if it has not been safely and competently installed. This project endeavours to deliver people who will do safe, competent and reliable installations for end-users.

This project also seeks to reward those who played the role of employee in the important role of developing this industry in our country. For various reasons, they never went beyond being an Electrical Contracting Operative (Elconop) Level 2 or 3. This project seeks to use their own contributions and effort to harness their experiences and take them to a higher level. That target level is that of Artisan.

We are going to train 200 of these beneficiaries in total with 100 of these coming from the North West Province and 100 being from Gauteng.

If half of them get into business and get to employ two employees and the rest get employed by our members, the multiplier benefit will be that we are servicing our communities and employing 400 people. That means that the dignity of 400 families will be restored or enhanced.

We are thankful for being given the opportunity to make this positive difference. This project gives the ECA(SA) the opportunity to reach where we have not been and change lives of people we may never meet in our lifetime. We will be advertising soon and we invite all employers to have a look at their workforce and see who deserves this chance and meet the entry requirements. We would be delighted to walk this journey with those employed by our members and those that have fallen off the employment bus due to the tough economic conditions we live under. This is us dirtying our hands to move this country forward. 

More info: Theresa Megalane at

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