Tel: 011 886 8245   Email:

Physical address: The Farm House, Stables 1-3 Zandspruit, Hoedspruit

Postal address: Postnet Hoedspruit Postnet Suite 430, Hoedspruit 1380

To our FGASA members and stakeholders  


Dear FGASA members, 

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama 

Exciting times are on the horizon for the tourism sector with regards to qualifications. Positive change within FGASA and within the guiding sector, specifically, is on the horizon. We would like to take this opportunity to provide accurate, clear information on the inevitable change to be expected. This process is driven by the NDT (National Department of Tourism), CATHSSETA, the QCTO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations) and SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority). Change has created some uncertainty within the guiding sector but let’s be open and embrace what lies ahead. 


The FGASA Nature Site Guide (Apprentice Field Guide) NQF2, Field Guide NQF4 and Trails Guide NQF2/4 skills programmes with unit standards, are currently accredited with CATHSSETA, but have expired and will no longer exist from June 2024. There will be no unit standard format qualifications in future. However, each unit standard-based skills programme will be replaced by the OQSF (Occupational Qualifications Sub Framework) format qualification, which is composed of theoretical, practical, and work experience modules. There are full occupational certificates, part qualifications with electives, and skills programmes. 

The purpose of the scoping is to ‘define the job’ and activities related to the job in a simplistic fashion. New qualifications are being re-scoped and mapped out across the tourism sector and in future will be registered with SAQA. The qualifications will then be implemented and managed by the QCTO within the NQF (National Qualifications Framework). CATHSSETA has been appointed as the Assessment Quality Partner.  

Expired CATHSSETA skills programmes 

The Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) Policy, 2021 has been implemented and as of the 30th of June 2023, ALL current CATHSSETA skills programmes have expired. This not only impacts the guiding sector, all sectors within the CATHSSETA framework are forced to address this. The example screen shot below, confirms the expiry date. 

The current programmes will run until June 2024. All learners wishing to sign up and train in the existing FGASA accredited programmes MUST be registered in the FGASA administrative system, as well as the CATHSSETA system, by 30 June 2024. These learners will then have 3 years to complete the process of certification. We urge all delivery partners to plan for this in their 2024 operational and marketing plans and encourage all prospective self-study learners to note this timeline. 

What has FGASA done? 

FGASA has actively been involved in this process since 2021 and had engaged with various key industry role players and FGASA stakeholders. The process is still in the formative stages of engagement, but the sector is confidently pushing hard for the formal stage to begin. CATHSSETA and the QCTO will now appoint a consultant to manage the qualification mapping process. A community of expert practitioners will be appointed as subject matter experts to participate in the writing up of the new qualifications. 

FGASA will apply to the QCTO for accreditation as an accredited Skills Delivery Partner (SDP). 

What is the role of the QCTO? 

The QCTO’s role is to ensure that there are occupational qualifications that respond to South Africa’s skills development priorities. The QCTO manages the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF), which is one of the three integrated sub-frameworks of the National Qualifications Framework. SAQA registers occupational qualifications on the OQSF as recommended by the QCTO. The availability of registered occupational qualifications facilitates skills development that supports labour market needs and developmental state initiatives. 

What does this mean for FGASA guides? 

FGASA together with the NFTGA (National Federation of Tourist Guides and Affiliates) and SAAIA (South African Adventure Industry Association) organisations drafted a letter to the NDT requesting confirmation that historical qualifications remain valid for future guide registrations at the relevant  Registrars across the country. In principle, this is agreed, and all Registrars have been present at the various workshops FGASA and other role players have attended. We await official confirmation from the NDT. In future, new guides will register with the new QCTO certificate. Qualified guides will also have the  opportunity to apply for RPL with historical certificates should they wish to do the new qualifications. FGASA will issue and implement an RPL policy for this process.

What will the new assessment process be? 


Formative Assessments will be set according to the Assessment Criteria. These standards will be used to guide and facilitate learning, assess learner achievement, and evaluate competence. 

Internal Summative Assessment will be conducted at the end of a module or integration of modules to evaluate learning that has taken place. These assessments will formally record results per module for the Statement of Results SOR that FGASA will submit to the QCTO.  


Once the SOR are submitted to the QCTO, the learner will need to complete a final competency-based assessment called the EISA (External Integrated Summative Assessment). The External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA) is the final assessment managed and conducted by the Quality Partner/Assessment Quality Partner and is used to assess all learners nationally. In the EISA, the learner proves his/her competence against the Exit Level Outcomes of the Qualification. EISA benefits industry/employers by ensuring that learners will be competent guides as they would have had to demonstrate competencies in work related tasks or scenarios during the EISA 

After successful completion of the EISA, achievement is granted once all requirements set by the QCTO are met. The guide will receive a QCTO certificate.  

What does this mean for FGASA approved Delivery Partners? 

Training Delivery Partners will need to meet new criteria and re-apply with FGASA to  

facilitate the QCTO registered qualifications under the FGASA brand. On approval, parties will enter into a Service Level Agreement with FGASA to deliver the facilitation of the occupational qualifications, in line with the Quality Management System Policies and Procedures. Facilitators will need to meet the new QCTO requirements in order to facilitate training. FGASA will facilitate training opportunities for the development of facilitators to assist with this process. 

What does this mean for FGASA Assessors? 

FGASA Assessors will need to meet new criteria to assess the Internal Summative Assessments under the FGASA brand. If approved, parties will enter into a Service Level Agreement with FGASA to assess the Internal Summative Assessments of the occupational qualifications according to Quality Management System Policies and Procedures. Assessors may also have the opportunity to apply to the QCTO Assessment Partners to assess the External Summative Assessments. 

The road ahead 

The NDT has just completed a series of engagement workshops with the Nature, Culture and Adventure guiding sectors. The findings and recommendations will be submitted to CATHSSETA and the QCTO. Thereafter, the formal consultation process begins. All stakeholders will be given the opportunity to provide feedback, once the drafts are complete. The final qualifications will then be registered with SAQA. 

To learn more about the new qualifications and road ahead, please join FGASA at any of the scheduled information events and online meetings (see ): 

5 September 2023 at 11:00 Delivery Partners online session 

6 September 2023 at 11:00 Session1: Members event at the FGASA Office, Hoedspruit 

6 September 2023 at 17:30 Session2: Members event at the FGASA Office, Hoedspruit 

7 September 2023 at 11:00 Members online session 

There is also a focussed strategy from the Minister and Department of Tourism to professionalise the Tourism sector. The professionalisation and the mapping of guide qualifications are parallel processes running concurrently to achieve this goal and FGASA is in support of this aim. FGASA will continue to provide opportunity, value, and recognised standards to all its members, and we thank all our members for their support. 



Michelle du Plessis  – Managing Director | Field Guides Association of southern Africa

Directors: Stephan Beal (Chairman), Michelle du Plessis (Managing Director), Godfrey Mathebula, Juan Pinto, Schalk Pretorius, Bernice Kelly (FGASA Management)

Executive Committee: Ashwell Glasson, Neil Whyte (Sabi Sand Western Sector), Andrew Kearney (Eastern Cape), Andrew Khosa (Northern Mpumalanga), Nic Knott-Craig (Gauteng), Koenraad Pretorius (Waterberg), Bennet de Klerk (Pilansberg), Alan Taylor (Kwa-Zulu Natal), Armin Junkuhn (Namibia)

Reg no: 2004/003844/08/024-733-NPO/VAT Reg no: 4400224855