SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

National Certificate: Environmental Practice 
49752  National Certificate: Environmental Practice 
SGB Environmental Sc/Mgt & Waste Mgt 
LG SETA - Local Government and related Services Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 10 - Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences  Environmental Sciences 
Undefined  122  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 9999/99  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2026-06-30   2029-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 


This qualification is the third in a series for practitioners in the field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management. This series of qualifications will equip practitioners with the skills, knowledge and values to contribute towards the wise and effective use and management of our natural resources and ecological systems.

The specific purpose of this qualification represents the skills, knowledge and understanding required by competent practitioners to:
  • Operate and maintain complex machinery and equipment in an environmentally responsible manner
  • Apply appropriate environmental principles to prevent, correct or remedy negative environmental impacts
  • Lead a team and work together with others to promote sound environmental practices.

    With this understanding, learners will be able to engage productively and responsibly in work or community-related activities in the field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management. This qualification will also serve as a basis for further learning, and will equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values to participate meaningfully in society and contribute towards developing sustainable communities.

    This qualification is applicable to a range of contexts within the field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management, such as local government, public and private waste management enterprises, cultural or natural heritage sites, community projects, recycling and recovery of resources, controlling and eradication of invasive and alien species, rural development and site preparation or rehabilitation. It is also suitable for workers with environmental functions in a range of industries such as mining and chemical industry or manufacturing. The following are typical contexts in which this qualification can be assessed:
  • Waste management related activities, eg
    > Materials recovery and buy-back centres
    > Waste reception
    > Landfill operations
  • Water course cleaning, care and maintenance
  • Care of public places, open areas, cultural and natural heritage sites
  • Maintenance of parks and sports fields
  • Community projects and job creation schemes relating to environmental practice
  • General industrial and extraction, ie activities with an environmental care or improvement focus.


    South Africa has a need to manage and protect its natural resources and ecological systems, while simultaneously using its resources in a sustainable manner to promote social, physical and economic development.

    There is also a need for people as individuals, and as members of social or workplace communities, to become aware of their responsibilities towards the environment and to be empowered to make informed choices regarding their own activities and the impact that these activities have on the environment. There is also a need for people to develop practices which will ensure that their activities, individually and collectively, result in the sustainable use of resources and minimise impact on the environment.

    Recent developments in environmental legislation have resulted in an increased demand for practitioners with the necessary skills, knowledge and values to fulfil these legislative requirements.

    Such practitioners - as learners, as workers and as members of social communities - need to be equipped to engage with the complexities and challenges which arise from this need to ensure that use and development is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.

    This qualification will enable providers, assessors and learners to plan, implement and measure the outcomes of suitable learning programmes, or to recognize prior learning. It will recognise the skills, knowledge and values of learners who engage actively in activities relevant to the field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management. The qualification is suitable for learners who:
  • Have attended environment related courses and then apply the knowledge gained to activities in a workplace or in a community, or
  • Are already workers and have acquired the skills and knowledge without attending formal courses, or
  • Are already active in the community and have acquired the skills and knowledge without attending formal courses, or
  • Participate in skills programmes and the appropriate work experience or community work, or
  • Are part of a learnership programme which integrates structured learning and work experience, or
  • Acquire their learning through any combination of the above. 

    It is assumed that the learner is competent in Communication and Mathematical Literacy at NQF level 2.

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification may be obtained through the process of RPL. The learner should be thoroughly briefed prior to the assessment and support should be provided to assist the learner in the process of developing a portfolio. While this is primarily a context-based qualification, evidence from other areas of endeavour may be introduced if pertinent to any of the Exit Level Outcomes.

    Access to this qualification is open.

    However, it is preferable that learners first complete the National Certificate: Environmental Practice: Level 2 or equivalent before accessing this qualification. The learner will need access to suitable specialised vehicles and/or complex machinery and equipment. 


    All Fundamental (40) credits and Core (70) credits are compulsory. Then a learner has to chose 12 elective credits from the elective component to make up the minimum required credits of 122. If a learner selects First Aid as an elective all 3 first aid standards should be done. 

    The Exit Level Outcomes for this qualification reflect a combination of Specific Outcomes and Critical Cross-Field Education and Training Outcomes. The way in which the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes have been advanced through the learning required for this qualification is embedded in the way in which the unit standards have been constructed. Critical Cross-Field Outcomes form the basis for acquiring skills, knowledge and values. The application of these in a specific context results in the achievement of Specific Outcomes. The integration of Specific Outcomes from a variety of unit standards results in the ability to achieve the Exit Level Outcomes.

    Exit level outcome 1
  • Operate and maintain specialised vehicles and/or complex machinery and equipment.

    > Range: Includes movable and static equipment for material treatment and processing functions which include consolidating, packaging (collection and handling), transferring and transporting materials, waste treatment and recycling, waste disposal, etc.

    Exit level outcome 2
  • Apply principles of environmental monitoring to identify anomalies and report on conditions and incidents related to the learner's area of responsibility, and implement appropriate action.

    Exit level outcome 3
  • Use and handle resources in a sustainable way within the framework of applicable standards

    > Range: Resources include natural resources, materials, energy, waste, etc.Handle includes transporting, storing, disposing of, classifying, etc. This outcome also includes an awareness of primary or fundamental pollution control equipment for soil, air, water, noise and energy. Standards are levels of performance set by the organisation, by legislation or by regulations.

    Exit level outcome 4
  • Provide input for environmental management processes.

    > Range: Environmental management processes refer to planning, trend analysis, monitoring, auditing and reporting in terms of statutory requirements, etc. Input refers to collected data such as measurements, maintenance records, samples, material usage, etc

    Exit level outcome 5
  • Interact with supervisor and lead a team within an operational context.

    > Range: Lead includes coordinating, scheduling, planning, organising, and evaluating operational activities. The team is led to complete routine tasks.

    Exit level outcome 6
  • Communicate with supervisors, the public, customers and colleagues to pass on information and to resolve problems or complaints. 

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 1
  • Operations related to the process are monitored and controlled in terms of safety, health and environmental considerations.
    > Range: The process includes activities such as operating an incinerator; handling effluent; using truck-mounted materials handling and compacting equipment; operating forklifts; liquid bulk loading; baling, compacting and shredding waste; checking and testing samples; monitoring and checking the quality of materials; mixing and preparing ingredients and chemicals; monitoring the flow and quality of materials and ingredients; monitoring and controlling the use of consumables.
  • Operational incidents, events and problems are identified and addressed appropriately.
  • The process is monitored and adjustments are made to maintain operational standards.
  • Procedures are followed and enforced correctly.
  • The product produced or service delivered meets operational requirements specified.
    > Range: Product refers to results of an action or process, eg compacted materials. Service refers to work done to prevent, correct or remedy environmental impacts, eg operating an incinerator. Operational requirements refer to those standards set at the site by the team, by the organisation and by legislation or regulation.

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 2
  • Basic principles of environmental monitoring and inspection are demonstrated in practice.
    > Range: Awareness of monitoring and measuring techniques for environmental parameters.
  • Appropriate tools and protocols are used to measure conformance to quality standards and to identify deviations.
    > Range: Conformance and deviations relate to components and interrelationships between components of the environment and include the impact of human activities on the components of the environment. (All references to the impact of human activities on the environment implicitly include the subsequent impact of the degraded environment on human health and well-being in accordance with accepted definitions of the environment.) Used: where applicable, includes selecting appropriate tools and protocols.
  • Action plans to address the deviations are developed and implemented, and their outcomes evaluated.
  • Deviations from set standards are prevented, corrected, or remedied
    > Range: Prevented, corrected, or remedied includes early detection and appropriate solutions (ie within the learner's capacity and authority) Standards are levels of performance set by the organisation, by legislation or by regulations.

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 3
  • Preventive measures are applied to control the impact of incorrectly used and handled resources on the environment.
    > Range: Includes management of impacts.
  • Safety, health, security and environmental safeguards are applied, monitored and controlled at all times.
  • Use of resources is monitored and controlled on an on-going basis.
    > Range: Includes application of relevant environmental management tools and protocol.
  • Resources are used in a sustainable manner.
    > Range: Includes identifying opportunities for, and optimising, wise use of resources.

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 4
  • Data input equipment is selected, used and maintained.
    > Range: Data input equipment can range from hand held data recording equipment to weighbridges, etc.
  • Relevant, accurate data is collected, recorded and managed.
    > Range: Includes sample collection, taking measurements, reporting, etc.
  • The purpose of the environmental management processes and the relevance of the data is explained.
    > Range: Includes basic knowledge and understanding of EMS audit principles and of the requirements of the information system as defined in relevant environmental standards.

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 5
  • Tasks and resources are allocated, and productivity and quality of work is monitored and controlled on an on-going basis.
    > Range: Includes knowledge of employment conditions, job descriptions, time sheets, etc.
  • Interpersonal skills are demonstrated at all times.
    > Range: Includes approachability, leadership skills, establishing and maintaining relationships, resolving conflict.
  • Health, safety and environmental standards are ensured at all times.
  • Team targets are met within quality standards.

    Assessment criteria associated with Exit level outcome 6
  • Appropriate responses are made to public and customer comments.
    > Range: Public and customer includes the community.
    Appropriate responses include recording, providing information, referring to supervisor, etc, and include knowledge of the type of communication which should be referred to a higher level of authority.
  • Correct information is communicated to relevant parties.
    > Range: Parties include supervisors, customers, team members, the public (eg hand out pamphlets, make announcements, answer queries).
  • Participation in meetings is constructive and contributes to the overall purpose.

    Integrated Assessment

    In order to achieve the aims of integrated assessment it is recommended that the assessor assesses all components of the learning in an integrated way and that credits are awarded for the unit standards during this assessment.

    It is recommended that learning components (ie fundamental and core) are combined into assignments and projects which are then included in the portfolio of evidence. This will form the basis for the bulk of the assessment. The assessor can then focus on specific areas for further probing and verification.

    The assessment process should:
  • Cover the explicit activities required for the qualification as well as the understanding of the concepts and principles which underpin the activities
  • Establish how the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes have been advanced by the learning process.

    The integrated assessment must be based on a summative assessment guide. The guide will spell out how the assessor will assess different aspects of the performance and will include:
  • Looking at records and reports in the portfolio and reviewing previous assessments
  • Asking questions and initiating short discussions to test understanding
  • Observing the learner at work (in the primary activity as well as in other interactions).

    The learner may choose in which language s/he wants to be assessed. This should be established as part of a process of preparing the learner for assessment and familiarising the learner with the approach being taken.

    While this is primarily a context-based qualification, evidence from other areas of endeavour may be introduced if pertinent to any of the Exit Level Outcomes.

    Assessors should also evaluate evidence that the learner has been performing consistently to standard over a period of time. 

    Qualifications which are directly comparable with this one in terms of level and scope have not been identified. The fact that this is a generic qualification that must serve the diverse needs of the broad field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management, puts it in a class of its own.

    Internationally, qualifications related to environmental science and environmental management fall into the sphere of higher education, apart from a few isolated examples at supervisory and first-tier management level.

    At the level of this qualification, there are a limited number of qualifications which focus on waste management, such as the Scottish Vocational Qualifications and the National Vocational Qualifications of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The approach taken in these qualifications aligns broadly with the approach taken here: qualifications are standards-based, learning is workplace-based, assessment is observation- and portfolio-based, and skills and knowledge are acquired, practiced and assessed within contexts relevant to the learner. However, this (i.e. the South African) qualification places a greater requirement on the learner to demonstrate successful integration of the knowledge and skills acquired.

    A recent development has been the initiative by the International Solid Waste Association to develop qualifications and promote training internationally. Developments are also taking place in other parts of the world, notably South America. However, concrete information of the type needed to carry out a detailed comparison could not be found within the limits of the research capability.

    Internationally, the method most widely used by organisations and companies to develop the skills of lower level employees is that of in-house orientation or training for a specific job. Information obtained by SGB members through personal contacts with colleagues in other countries has indicated that internships may also be used to develop skills, particularly in the United Kingdom.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is regarded as representing best practice in environmental matters and is used as a model by other countries. In addition to its role in protecting the environment within the United States, the US EPA is also influential in skills development in the environmental field within the United States and in the many countries outside of the United States. The US EPA is instrumental in promoting the development of skills at all levels. It sets standards, establishes guidelines, provides funding and support for the development of resources and provision of training, and promotes the sharing and acquisition of knowledge through conferences, workshops and specialised training.

    The absence of concrete information means that a detailed comparison cannot be made between US EPA training and the learning required for this qualification. However, it is known, through SGB members' personal experience and knowledge of learning resources which meet US EPA standards (for example, in the field of waste management), that the skills, knowledge and values that would be achieved through this qualification are of a comparable standard to those determined by the US EPA.

    Collectively, the SGB has close links with professional bodies and educational institutions which maintain links with their counterparts on an international level. This awareness of international trends in environmental practice and in environmental education has enabled the SGB to determine a realistic standard for this qualification and its associated unit standards, while at the same time enabling people to extend themselves within the learning context of this qualification. 

    This qualification articulates with the National Certificate in Environmental Practice: NQF 4.

    This qualification has been designed and structured so that qualifying learners can move from one context to another. Employers or institutions should be able to evaluate the outcomes of this qualification against the needs of their context and structure top-up learning appropriately. Equally, holders of other qualifications may be evaluated against this qualification for the purpose of RPL.

    This qualification has been designed as a generic qualification which will serve the diverse needs of the field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management. While a certain amount of the learning is applicable across the field, the balance will be related to the learner's context. Each context will have a different focus and this will determine what qualifications, both horizontally and vertically, will articulate with this one. 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must be registered as an assessor or moderator with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this Qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQAs policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise.
  • Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described both in individual unit standards as well as the integrated competence described in the qualification.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this Qualification may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited for assessment by the relevant ETQA.
  • To ensure that national standards are maintained, the final assessment should be conducted on the following basis, which will be under the control of the relevant ETQAs. National assessment of written papers and/or practical assignments needs to be undertaken, by the relevant ETQA. This must include the necessary assessment tools (e.g. marking schemes) to ensure consistent assessment. The ETQA itself or a nominated body or bodies can perform this function.
  • Assessment can be institutional or workplace based and must be done by a registered assessor. 

    The following criteria should be applied by the relevant ETQA:
  • Appropriate qualification in a relevant field of environmental science, environmental management and waste management at NQF Level 4 with a minimum of 2 years' experience in a relevant context.
  • Appropriate experience and understanding of assessment theory, processes and practices.
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to balance the conflicting requirements of:
    > Maintaining national standards
    > The interests of the learner
    > The need for transformation and redressing the legacies of the past
    > The cultural background and language of the learner.
  • Registration as an assessor with a relevant ETQA. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 


    Core  13912  Apply knowledge of self and team in order to develop a plan to enhance team performance  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  116275  Apply routine maintenance and servicing plans and procedures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  13223  Apply safety, health and environmental protection procedures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14050  Care for customers in a community environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119822  Collect data for environmental management purposes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  115093  Control workplace hazardous substances  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  116257  Explain human resource policies and procedures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119821  Implement lean work practices to ensure sound environmental management practices  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  119830  Operate specialised vehicles and/or complex static or moving machinery and equipment  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Core  14019  Plan team work functions and complete reports  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119829  Use appropriate environmental management tools and protocols to detect and respond to specific impacts  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Fundamental  8968  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  114941  Apply knowledge of HIV/AIDS to a specific business sector and a workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8969  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8973  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8970  Write texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  117924  Use a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based word processor to format documents  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  14534  Apply knowledge of community issues in relation to development projects  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  114952  Apply problem-solving techniques to make a decision or solve a problem in a real life context  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  11498  Attend and give evidence in court  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116534  Carry out basic first aid treatment in the workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  113909  Coach a team member in order to enhance individual performance in work environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  117085  Conduct basic forestry map reading  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14578  Erect palisade fencing  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116524  Measure environmental factors and take appropriate action  Level 3  NQF Level 03  15 
    Elective  116496  Provide primary emergency care for bleeding and wounds  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116497  Provision of primary emergency care intervention for shock, unconsciousness and fainting in the working place  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14581  Repair/replace minor structures  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Elective  116940  Use a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based spreadsheet application to solve a given problem  Level 3  NQF Level 03 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. A.S.A.P Training and Consulting 
    2. A4 Consultancy CC 
    3. AMG Training and Hygiene Consultants 
    4. Asiphokuhle Training and Research Institute 
    5. AVAX SA 481 CC. T/A Mandisa Development Services 
    7. Bazalwane Business Partners 
    8. Bephaswana Skills Development (Pty) Ltd 
    9. Boikgantsho Consulting & Events 
    10. Buena Vista Learning Academy 
    11. Coceka Consulting 
    12. CTC College(PTY) LTD. 
    13. Elective Training Institute Enterprise CC 
    14. ERF 340 HOLDINGS 
    15. Faranang Marketing 
    16. Furniture World Training Centre 
    17. Gauteng Association Of Local Authorities 
    18. Growth Management Consulting 
    20. IALE School of Advanced Learning Education 
    21. IQ Skills Academy (PTY) LTD. 
    22. Itumeleng Wellness Solutions 
    23. Josmap Training Institute 
    24. Katlehong Corporate Group 
    25. Kay Beez Development Projects 
    27. Khutakhu Trading 
    29. KTMO Business Solutions 
    30. KWEM Management Solutions 
    31. Lee And Spirit 
    32. Legacy Leap Skills Developmemt Institute (Pty) Ltd 
    33. Lewerb Holdings (PTY) Ltd 
    34. LO Tantsi Fire Consultants CC. 
    35. M.I.C. Training and Development 
    36. Makhuba Development Projects CC 
    37. Makoti Skills Development Solutions 
    38. Mamuhle Academy 
    39. Mementos Training Pty Ltd 
    40. Mintirho Development Services 
    41. Mod-Mosh Projects and Consulting (PTY) LTD 
    42. Mohlaje Solutions (Pty) Ltd 
    43. Mortarboard Training Solutions 
    44. Ndotha General Trading 
    45. Nemalale Eagles Consultancy CC 
    46. Networx for Career Development 
    47. New Hope Revival Organisation 
    48. Nkinane Trading Enterprise 
    49. Nonunu Projects 
    50. Nyankwavi Investment CC. 
    51. PFIM Trading (Pty) Ltd 
    52. Pioneer Business Consulting 
    53. PMA Holdings (PTY ) LTD. 
    54. Progressive School of Business and Engineering (Pty) 
    55. Shudu Trading 
    56. Simmek Holdings 
    57. Siza Nesu Training and Consultants 
    58. South African Corporate Training Association 
    59. Starplex 489 cc 
    60. Tachfin Holdings 
    61. Talent Emporium Academy (PTY) Ltd 
    62. Teemil Safety Health and Environmental Consultants PTY LTD 
    63. Tembe Service Providers 
    64. Thando Consulting Services 
    65. The Green Affairs Consulting 
    66. Thubelihle Graduate Institute 
    67. Thusanang Skills & Training 
    68. Timothy Fasheun Group Enviromentors (Pty) Ltd 
    69. TLD Consulting 
    70. Tloumogale Business Development & Consulting 
    71. Tovani Traiding 299 
    72. Umbuso Training Services 
    74. University of Venda 
    75. Ursivox Interactive Systems 
    76. Wildlife and Enviroment Society of South Africa 
    77. World Pace Development and Training Institute 

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.