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: Public Administration 
57804  National Certificate: Public Administration 
SGB Public Administration and Management 
PSETA - Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 03 - Business, Commerce and Management Studies  Public Administration 
Undefined  157  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

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 replaces: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
48513  National Certificate: Public Administration  Level 3  NQF Level 03  131  Complete 


The qualification recognises the generic skills, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and values expected of a competent person in a wide range of contexts in Public Sector Administration and the public sector in general. Additionally this qualification contributes to the development of information technology, communications, writing, and service delivery competencies. It provides learners who have no formal education with an opportunity through formal assessment to:
  • Have their prior learning formally recognised.
  • Identify gaps in their skills and knowledge.
  • Structure learning programmes to close those gaps.

    On completion of this qualification the qualifying learner will:
  • Be competent in core administration and data capturing skills.
  • Understand and be able to apply public sector policies, procedures and processes.
  • Recognise and understand the purpose and structure of their own workplace, and the purpose of specific departments or sections and the way in which each contributes to the objectives and purpose of the public sector in the country.
  • Understand the role that the public sector plays in the South African economy as a whole.
  • Be able to plan his/her work to meet deadlines and performance standards demanded by the department.
  • Be able to measure and evaluating his/her level of performance against performance standards and plan improvement strategies.
  • Be able to develop a skills development plan for him/herself and apply it so improving productivity levels.


    Effective and efficient administration in the public sector are key to a successful economy. This qualification is a blend of administration skills relevant in the context of the public sector and is aiming at rapid building of the skills base within the public sector. It ties in with the overall objectives of the public sector to skill learners in line with the strategic need of identified broad competences.

    The qualification reflects the skills and competencies required of people employed, or seeking employment in the Public Sector, in a role where they provide administration services. The importance of the ethical base of service delivery is additionally reflected in this qualification. 

    Learners accessing this qualification are assumed to be competent in:
  • Communication at NQF Level 2.
  • Mathematical Literacy at NQF level 2.
  • Computer Literacy at NQF level 1.

    Recognition of prior learning:

    One of the primary purposes of this qualification is to recognise prior learning. The learner should be thoroughly briefed on the mechanisms to be used and provided with sufficient support and guidance to prepare for the assessment process. Care should be taken that the mechanism used for RPL provides the learner with the opportunity to demonstrate competence and is not so onerous as to prevent learners from taking up the RPL option to gain this qualification. This qualification will also allow for the design of top-up courses based on gaps established during an initial assessment process.

    Recognition of Prior Learning may allow for:
  • Accelerated access to further learning at this or higher levels on the NQF.
  • Gaining of credits towards a Unit Standard in this Qualification.
  • Obtaining of this Qualification in part or in whole.

    Access to the qualifiation:

    Access to this Qualification is open, bearing in mind the Learning Assumed to be in Place itemised below. 


    Level, credits and learning components,assigned to the qualification

    A minimum of 160 credits is required to complete the Qualification, which is made of the following components:
  • Fundamental: 36 credits.
  • Core: 103 credits.
  • Electives: 18 credits.
  • Total: 157 credits.

    Motivation for number of credits assigned to Fundamental, Core and Elective Components

    Fundamental component:

    Unit Standards to the value of 20 credits are allocated to Communication at NQF Level 3 and Unit Standards to the value of 22 credits to Mathematical Literacy. These Unit standards will help the learner to become a literate and numerate worker who is able to function competently in the global community of which South Africa is a part.

    All the Unit Standards in this component are Compulsory.

    Core component:

    The Unit standards in the Core Component will equip the learner with the essential administration skills and knowledge required to effectively perform an administrative function in a Public Administration office so improving service delivery to the customer. The Core Unit Standards are grouped under topics, which consist of generic competencies to facilitate effective service delivery in the public sector. They promote the personal development of the learner.

    All the Unit Standards in the Core Component are compulsory.

    Elective component:

    Candidates may select standards from the list of electives that reflect a personal career development interest or equip them with the building blocks of knowledge and skills required for learning at the next level on the NQF. 

    On achieving this qualification the learner will:

    1. Provide an effective administration service at practitioner level in the public sector at national, provincial or local government level.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of the legal, regulatory and policy frameworks applicable to own work environment.
    3. Deliver and make informed judgements about the quality of the administration service, offered to clients.
    4. Take responsibility for managing own performance and growth as administrative practitioners in the context of public sector human resource development policies and procedures.
    5. Use and maintain computers and workplace equipment relevant to own public administration role in own operating context.
    6. Maintain health, safety and security of the work community and environment. 

  • Administrative tasks are performed at a service level determined by the particular government service sector office or by an equivalent performance agreement.
  • Client satisfaction with qualitative and quantitative outputs of administration service functions is ensured through effective interaction and provision of service according to realistic expectations.
  • Administrative policies and procedures are known and applied to ensure the provision of an effective and efficient administrative service.

  • Application of Batho Pele principles is demonstrated through interactions with colleagues, supervisors, internal clients and customers.
  • The Code of Conduct is known and applied by the learner in relation to his/her own work, systems and interactions with internal and external clients.
  • Public service ethics and their implication for the learner's work role are explained with examples.
  • The main roles and responsibilities of each level of government in South Africa are known and an explanation given of how each learner's work role contributes to the objectives of each.
  • The statutory regulations governing the learner's department, section and division are known and can be explained with examples and are applied to the learner's work procedures.

  • Customer and client feedback is obtained and used to make decisions on improving customer service.
  • Error rates in processing roles are measured to assess the attainment of benchmarks and set performance development objectives.
  • Repeat work and complaints are used to review performance in administration roles.

  • Individual development plans agreed in performance reviews are used as the basis for planning and implementing personal development programmes.
  • Individual growth is demonstrated in the follow up documentation used to monitor the implementation of IDPs and reviewed in the performance enhancements achieved.

  • Uses computer and software according to organisational and functional standards, including for the management of electronic information and a records systems.
  • Computer peripherals are used and maintained in accordance with the procedures and conditions in the equipment manual and in compliance with the organisation's usage and safety procedures and requirements.
  • Workplace equipment is used and maintained in accordance with the procedures and conditions laid down in the equipment manual and in compliance with the organisation's usage and safety procedures and requirement.

  • Security of people in the workplace is maintained according to organisational security procedures.
  • Safety and health of people in the workplace is assured by the application of organisational safety and health procedures.
  • People in the workplace community are supported in a manner that recognises their dignity and upholds their sense of well-being at work.

    Integrated assessment:

    Integrated assessment at the level of this qualification will evaluate the learner's capacity to integrate concepts, actions and ideas across a range of activities and knowledge domains. The integrated assessment must specifically evaluate the learner's ability to:
  • Implement and apply public sector procedures.
  • Use administration systems.
  • Understand, use and care for computers and workplace equipment.
  • Use resources effectively.
  • Comply with behavioural requirements and service orientation of employees in the service of the public.
  • Explain and discuss issues relating to their work in the context of the public sector.

    This will require assessment methods, which take into account evidence generated in on-the-job activities.

    Because assessment practices must be open, transparent, fair, valid, and reliable and ensure that no learner is disadvantaged in any way whatsoever, an integrated assessment approach is incorporated into the qualification.

    Learning, teaching and assessment are inextricably linked. Whenever possible, the assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values shown in the Unit Standards should be integrated.

    Assessment of communication and mathematical literacy should be integrated as far as possible with other aspects and should use authentic administration contexts wherever possible. A variety of methods must be used in assessment and tools and activities must be appropriate to the context in which the learner is working or will work. Where it is not possible to assess the learner in the workplace or on-the-job, simulations, case studies, role-plays and other similar techniques should be used to provide a context appropriate to the assessment.

    The term 'Integrated Assessment' implies that theoretical and practical components should be assessed together. During integrated assessments, the assessor should make use of a range of formative and summative assessment tools methods and assess combinations of practical, applied, foundational and reflective competencies.

    Assessors must assess and give credit for the evidence of learning that has already been acquired through formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience.

    Assessment should ensure that all specific outcomes, embedded knowledge and critical cross-field outcomes are evaluated in an integrated way. 

    This qualification was compared with similar qualifications and standards in public administration in the Southern African Development Community, UK, Canada and Australia.


    A survey of programmes offered by the SADC countries (Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia) indicated that the unit standards in this qualification reflect the knowledge, understanding, skills and value orientations covered in the programmes. The perspectives and the approach differs from country to country.

    United Kingdom:

    A comparison was made between this qualification and the Public Services - National Diploma -Level 3 in the UK. This nationally validated course is recognised by all the public services and universities in Britain. It aims to prepare students for a wide variety of careers including the police; fire service; ambulance service; HM customs; the armed forces and the rescue services. Students may take additional qualifications alongside with their public services course such as AS/A Levels, and GCSE results. The qualification covers 18 units over 2 years, of which 2 are externally assessed. These units allow students to investigate the nature of the work within the specific public service department or sector including their role within the community and society, as well as focusing on general issues relevant to all sectors of the public services.

    A second qualification of interest is the Certificate in Administration, offered by the North Devon College. It is a two year full time course which has been designed primarily to prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed to meet the entry requirements of a number of public service organisations. The course comprises 18 units:
  • Understanding the Public Sector.
  • Law & the Legal System.
  • Leadership.
  • Citizenship & Contemporary Issues.
  • Diversity & the Public Services.
  • International Perspectives.
  • Data Interpretation.
  • The Uniformed Services.
  • Expedition Skills.
  • Human Behaviour.
  • Dealing with Accidents.
  • Teamwork.
  • Health & Fitness.
  • Outdoor Activities.
  • Criminology.
  • Custodial Care.
  • Major Incidents.
  • Customs & Excise.
  • Signals and Communication.
  • Nautical Studies.

    The course fits the needs of the so called uniformed public services.

    Recently the British Government has established a Sector Skills Council for Central Government Standards and Qualifications to upgrade the skills of its civil servants. The future plans and objectives of this newly formed organisation include:
  • Developing an interim Standards and Qualifications Strategy based on Professional Skills for Government by December 2006.
  • Developing a Standards and Qualifications strategy by December 2007.
  • Developing Standards and Qualifications to meet the needs of PSG by December 2008.
  • Influencing the development of Standards and Qualifications by other SSCs and sector bodies.
  • Developing a Standards and Qualifications framework for central government.

    Considering the developments in South Africa in this regard we are ahead of Britain.


    Athabasca University provides a Certificate in Public Administration that educates students on administration at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government.

    Abathasca University is Canada's 'Open University'. More details can be found at

    The program's curriculum includes:
  • Public finance.
  • Budgeting.
  • Economics.
  • Public policy.
  • Legal Studies.
  • Industrial Relations.

    The Public Administration Certificate enables students to enter or re-enter the job market, for promotions in the public sector or career migration.

    The certificate requires 30 credits from the following selection (credit values in brackets)
  • Administrative Principles (3).
  • Microeconomics (3).
  • Macroeconomics (3).
  • Public Policy and Administrative Governance (3).
  • Public Policy in a Global Era (3).
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management in a Globalised World (3).
  • Industrial Relations: A Critical Introduction (3).
  • Administrative Law (3).
  • Commercial Law (3).
  • Introduction to Political Science I: Concepts, Structures, and Institutions (3).
  • Canadian Government and Politics (3).

    This is an undergraduate course certificate, equivalent to a first year degree course and is at a slightly higher level than this level 3 qualification. It emphasise academic over practical approach if compared to this level 3 certificate qualification which is tailored to our practical South African developmental needs.


    In Australia apprentices and trainees gain qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) predominantly between AQF levels 1 to 3 (AQF has levels 6 levels). The majority of traineeships are currently conducted under a Training Agreement of 12 months duration and provide an AQF level 2 qualification. The majority of apprenticeships are currently conducted in 3 to 4 years Training Agreement and provide a minimum qualification at AQF level 3. Both trainees and apprentices can enter subsequent Training Agreements to gain higher level qualifications.

    Tin the case of an Administrative Services Trainee (General), who obtains a Certificate II in Government the employee will work as general administrative assistant performing a range of tasks under close supervision. His summary of training includes the following Units:
  • Work in a public sector environment.
  • Communicate in the workplace.
  • Use technology in the workplace.
  • Follow defined occupational health and safety policies and procedures.
  • Electives.
  • Deliver a service to clients.
  • Access and use resources.
  • Handle workplace information.

    Considering the title, specific outcomes, assessment criteria, exit level outcomes and embedded knowledge of this certificate we can conclude that it compares best with our qualification at Level 3. 

    This qualification articulates vertically with the following qualifications:
  • FETC: Generic Business Administration: Level 4.
  • FETC: Generic Management: Level 4.
  • FETC: Public Administration: Level 4.

    It should articulate horizontally with any other qualification at level 3 in the following fields:
  • Secretarial services.
  • Reception services.
  • Switchboard operations.
  • Health administration.
  • Legal administration.
  • Financial administration.
  • Banking administration.
  • Personal/executive secretarial services.
  • Data capturing.
  • School administration. 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must be registered as an assessor with a relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding 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 or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA or by an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA, according to the ETQA's 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 in the exit level outcomes described in the qualification. 


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

    This Qualification replaces qualification 48513, "National Certificate: Public Administration ", level 3, 131 credits. 

    Core  117943  Install a Personal Computer (PC) peripheral device, in a GUI environment  Level 1  NQF Level 01 
    Core  117902  Use generic functions in a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-environment  Level 1  NQF Level 01 
    Core  114974  Apply the basic skills of customer service  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  114957  Contribute to the health, safety and security of a financial services workplace  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  114976  Operate and take care of equipment in an office environment  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  14911  Participate in formal meetings  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  14348  Process incoming and outgoing telephone calls  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  117924  Use a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based word processor to format documents  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  242864  Answer customer enquiries by mail, facsimile, and e-mail in a wide range of public sector contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242870  Apply public sector policies and procedures to achieve administration objectives  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Core  242860  Apply the Batho Pele principles to own work role and context  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  13915  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS in a workplace, and its effects on a business sub-sector, own organisation and a specific workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242858  Demonstrate knowledge of and apply the Public Sector Code of Conduct in own work roles and context  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242863  Identify basic employment rights and responsibilities and deal appropriately with own grievances and disputes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242866  Identify, operate and maintain the records management system in a Public Sector organisation  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242874  Manage own performance improvement process in a public sector context  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242862  Manage own work performance in a public sector workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  11241  Perform Basic Business Calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242865  Use data entry and retrieval skills to input and retrieve computer data  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  242868  Demonstrate and apply knowledge of role and responsibility of local government in South Africa  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  242856  Demonstrate and apply knowledge of role and responsibility of national government in South Africa  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  242854  Demonstrate and apply knowledge of role and responsibility of provincial government in South Africa  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  242857  Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the ethical standards in the Public Sector  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Fundamental  119472  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral/signed communication  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  119457  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  119467  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  119465  Write/present/sign texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  119517  Advocate and lobby community issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Elective  244574  Apply knowledge of HIV/AIDS to a specific business sector and a workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13912  Apply knowledge of self and team in order to develop a plan to enhance team performance  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13929  Co-ordinate meetings, minor events and travel arrangements  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  244300  Demonstrate an understanding of public participation in Local Government  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  123436  Facilitate community participation in democratic processes and structures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  244188  Facilitate public participation and citizen involvement in Local Government processes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13937  Monitor and control office supplies  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13928  Monitor and control reception area  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13930  Monitor and control the receiving and satisfaction of visitors  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13935  Plan and conduct basic research in an office environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14667  Describe and apply the management functions of an organization  Level 4  NQF Level 04  10 
    Elective  114589  Manage time productively  Level 4  NQF Level 04 

    When qualifications are replaced, some (but not all) of their learning programmes are moved to the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replaced qualification.

    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.

    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.