How to tell which training providers are legitimate – and other FAQs

May 25th, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Vector

Lucas Bowles, regional director, East/South Cape, regularly compiles a list of frequently asked questions from the region’s members. The Regional Executive Committee then meets to compile the answers to these questions, and these are presented at members’ meetings. The questions asked by members in the East/South Cape are also asked by members countrywide and these are shared for the benefit of the electrical contracting industry in South Africa.

How do I know which training providers are legitimate?

Training and trade testing in all industries in South Africa were decentralised many years ago in terms of government policy. As a result, the concept of a centralised trade testing organisation referred to by many people as COTT no longer applies.

It has been replaced by a system of sector education and training authorities (SETAs), which are empowered to accredit training providers and trade test centres. Strict criteria are applied before accreditation is granted and the important question to ask when approached to register for a specific training course or skills programme is whether the training is accredited.

Any training provider who offers a particular training course should be able to confirm whether such training has been accredited. Non-accredited training is, unfortunately, a waste of time and is therefore not recommended.

All training providers must be registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and very strict quality control measures must be complied with before accreditation is granted to a service provider. The Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO) has assumed responsibility for the issuing of Trade Test Certificates in terms of Section 26 (D) 4 of the Skills Development Act.

What is the relationship between the ECA(SA) and the ECB?

There is no formal relationship between the two organisations. Until 2012, the ECA acted as an agent for the Electrical Contracting Board (ECB) to register electrical contractors in South Africa and to provide those contractors with Certificates of Compliance. The ECB’s role as the registering authority ceased when the Department of Labour took over the function of registering electrical contractors in the country.

The ECB thereafter changed its name to the Electrical Conformance Board but its role and function in the electrical industry are unclear. The ECB currently presents courses on the Wiring Code and other safety standards applicable to the electrical industry. The ECB also sells CoCs toiIndustry. It is important not to confuse the ECB, NBCEI and the ECA.


The ECA is a voluntary employers’ association which provides a variety of benefits for its members. The ECA plays a vital role in the electrical industry and, apart from the union, it is the only party to the bargaining council where it determines the rules. The association is party to the setting up, writing and amending of the safety regulations (SANS 10142-1). It has a direct relationship with the Department of Labour.


It is compulsory to be registered with the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry (NBCEI) if you employ workers in the electrical contracting industry. The Bargaining Council acts as the “referee” between employers and employees.

It is critical to register your employees. It is not just the law; it’s the morally correct thing to do. The levies and contributions you think you are saving by not registering someone is going to look and feel like a bargain should an employee pass away on site.

Must ECA members support ECB training seminars?

It would appear that the ECB’s main source of income is derived from the presentation of courses. There are many training providers offering training on a wide range of topics that affect the electrical contractor. Beware “supposed” benefits. Some training providers say that course attendees receive the latest Code “free of charge”. You are still paying for it, which is evident by the amount charged for the course.

The ECA provides its own training and members are free to decide which service provider to support. There is no legal requirement to attend ECB training. We would, however, prefer our members to support the association they belong to. By supporting ECA training (even if some courses are more expensive), the money stays in the association, which really means that ECA members benefit, directly and indirectly.

Why must geysers be protected by earth leakage protection devices?

Unfortunately, the SANS committee authorising changes to the Wiring Code does not provide reasons or motivation for any amendments agreed to by the Committee. We can therefore only speculate the reason for such drastic decision.The law requires all new installations after 15 March 2017 to comply, for safety reasons.

Lucas Bowles, ECA regional director, South/East Cape



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