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National Skills Fund (NSF)

 VisionFunding to skill our nation

Mission: To provide funding for national skills development towards a capable South African citizenry, that contributes to improving economic participation and social development.


  1. Passion
  2. Integrity
  3. Collaborative
  4. Accountability
  5. Service Excellence

Strategic overview

The National Skills Fund (NSF) was established in 1999 in terms of Section 27 of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998) (SDA).

The NSF is a Schedule 3A public entity that provides funding for skills development initiatives that are identified by the National Skills Development Plan 2030 (NSDP) as national priorities, and/or are related to the achievement of the SDA, 1998 and/or considered to be an activity undertaken by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation to achieve a standard of good practice in terms of skills development.

Between 1999 and 2009, the NSF, together with the sector education and training authorities (SETAs) and the National Skills Authority (NSA), reported to the Department of Labour (now called the Department of Employment and Labour). However, in 2009, the new Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) was formed through a presidential proclamation. Simultaneously, the skills development system (SETAs, the NSF and the NSA) was transferred from the former Department of Labour to the newly formed Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). This change fundamentally aimed to bring the world of work closer to the world of education.

In order to achieve its mandate, the NSF's primary activities are focused on:

  • education and training of learners;
  • post-school education and training (PSET) system support and capacity-building which includes skills infrastructure; and  
  • skills development research, innovation and advocacy

Key legislation, government policies, strategies and programmes

The funding priorities of the NSF are guided by key South African legislation and policies while maintaining alignment with several strategies and plans of government.

  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
  • Skills Development Act 
  • Skills Development Levies Act
  • Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act
  • Public Finance Management Act (NSF listed as a Schedule 3A public entity)
  • SETAs Grant Regulations
  • Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act
  • Workplace Based Learning Programme Agreement
  • National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act

  • National Growth Path Framework
  • Skills Accord
  • White Paper on Post-school Education and Training 
  • Youth Employment Accord
  • Jobs Summit Agreement Framework
  • White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation

Strategies and plans
  • National Skills Development Strategy or National Skills Development Plan 2030
  • Industrial Policy Action Plan
  • 10-year Innovation Plan
  • Human Resource Development Strategy of South Africa
  • National Development Plan
  • National Infrastructure Plan (Strategic Infrastructure Projects)
  • National Plan for Post-school Education and Training
  • District Development Model
  • Revised Medium-term Strategic Framework
  • National Skills Development Plan
  • Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan
  • Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Skills Strategy

NSF's main revenue sources:                       

  • 20 percent of the skills development levies as contemplated in the Skills Development Levies Act, 1999 (Act 9 of 1999)
  • Interest earned on investments held at the Public Investment Corporation
  • Uncommitted surpluses from the sector education and training authorities (SETAs) that are transferred to the NSF in terms of SETA grant regulation 3(12).

NSF is a Schedule 3A public entity
On 12 October 2012, the Minister of Finance listed the NSF as a Schedule 3A public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act 1 of 1999) (PFMA), retrospectively effective from 1 April 2012 (Notice 821 in Government Gazette 35759). Prior to the listing as a public entity, the NSF operated as a programme under the DHET Skills Development Branch.

The listing of the NSF as a public entity does not determine the legal persona status of the NSF. The list prescribes the compliance framework that the NSF must adhere to in terms of the PFMA, 1999. The legal persona status is determined by the NSF’s founding legislation, namely the SDA, 1998.

Skills development funding applications

The NSF periodically invites expressions of interest and skills development proposals in multiple sectors from qualifying applicants nationally or related to a specific region

Open call: In this process, the NSF publishes a request for proposal in the media and invites expressions of interest of skills development proposals from qualifying applicants. Proposals are evaluated using a competitive process based on the evaluation criteria, strategic alignment of the application, availability of funds and equitable distribution of funds.

Keep visiting tenders for the next open call for request for proposals and eligibility guidelines for applicants

Closed call: In this process, the NSF targets specific partners or stakeholders and invites skills development proposals only from them. Categories of targeted applicants may include, but are not limited to public institutions within the post-school education and training (PSET) system (i.e. community education and training (CET) colleges, technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, universities, quality councils and moderation bodies, bursary agencies, etc.), professional bodies, employer associations, disability skills development organisations, national departments, offices of the premiers, provincial departments, municipalities, state owned companies, non-profit organisations etc.

NSF contacts

Acting Executive Officer
Mr David Mabusela

Acting Executive Assistant: Ms Ivy Moroko
Telephone: 012 943 3111

Chief Director: Strategy, Innovation and Organisational Performance
Ms Melissa Erra

Secretary - Office of the Chief Director: Ms Mbalenhle Sharon Ndlovu 
Telephone: 012 943 2915    

Acting Chief Director: Skills Development Implementation
Ms Meriam Malebo

Personal Assistant: Ms Lebogang Bogopa 
Telephone: 012 943 2027

Chief Financial Officer
Mr Zama Khubeka,CA(SA)

Personal Assistant: Ms Cilesta Ramarumo
Telephone: 012 943 3218

Director: Legal, Risk and Compliance
Adv Azwifaneli Sidimela


General NSF Enquiries: 
Switchboard: 012 943 3101

Did you know?

...A total of 137 019 learners were funded for education and training programmes through the NSF in the period 2015 to 2020.

Did you know?

...The NSF invests in the production of scarce and critical skills by the awarding of undergraduate and postgraduate bursaries and scholarships administered through the NSFAS, NRF and DHET International Scholarships.


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