The SSAUF is intended to address university staff development needs in the long-term. However, several factors combine to make the ongoing appointment of additional staff both attractive and necessary. These factors include the general enrichment value contributed by staff from different walks of life and global contexts, the flexibility given by short-term, part-time employment, the planned expansion of the system, and the general value-add through mentoring and other forms of support that retired or other part-time staff are ideally placed to give.

The SSEP involves government making available a feasible number of SSEP 'post-equivalents' per annum across the system, to be applied for on an agreed basis and equitably allocated to institutions on the basis of approved staffing plans and/or proposals and taking into account factors such as specific development needs, size and shape, and enrolment plans.

For obvious reasons, SSEP posts will be temporary, but institutions can decide how to use the funds – for example, they could employ several people against the full-time equivalent funding for one post

Categories of supplementary staff that could be employed through the SSEP include: retirees who could be appointed as mentors, co-supervisors, or replacement or additional teachers (to enable other staff to participate in the range of development opportunities made possible through the SSAUF);
people whose expertise in industry and the professions could be harnessed to increase the pool of supervisors (through joint-supervision arrangements, for example), the availability of bench space in laboratories, and for specialist teaching and mentoring; and academic staff from other countries, including developing countries, who could be appointed on a fixed term contract basis and who would, while contributing to SA's needs, both benefit from the experience of working in South Africa and not be lost to their home countries: