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PRETORIA – The South African Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma) has accused the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta) of irregularly and unethically accrediting the training courses of a former training manager of the association.

Sapma executive director Deryck Spence claimed that the Chieta accredited Pogiso Matlala, the association’s former training manager, as a trainer while he was still employed by Sapma and accredited Matlala’s training courses within six months when it took the association years to get their courses accredited.

Spence further alleged the training course material submitted to Chieta by Matlala for accreditation was Sapma’s intellectual property.

He added that Matlala was Sapma’s direct interface with the Chieta when he and Matlala Consortium, a new business he had secretly established while employed by the association, were accredited by Chieta.

“This accreditation was readily handed out to our renegade ex-staff member’s company by Chieta when it had taken Sapma, which officially represents an industry that employs 15 000 people, sweat and tears over several years to achieve the same accreditation Matlala  received on a plate,” Spence said.

“He is also blatantly using Sapma’s training material, which was secured while he was still employed by Sapma, for his clients.” 

Spence claimed the lack of ethics went further, with Matlala’s new company now listed “on the hallowed pages of endorsement” of the SA Qualifications Authorities (Saqa) under the accreditations that had been attributed to Sapma’s training academy.

He said that Matlala Consortium had also managed to obtain training grants, which were denied to Sapma’s training academy.

Spence said Sapma had informed the Chieta there was a conflict of interests and it was illegal for them to accredit Matlala when it was aware he was employed by the association’s training academy.

He said Chieta informed him they had checked with their legal department and they were satisfied they could accredit anyone despite that person being employed by Sapma.

Spence said Sapma’s training academy accreditation was also removed from Saqa’s list while Matlala’s new business was included on the list.

He said Sapma complained to Chieta about this, which after investigating the complaint, indicated that Chieta had for some inexplicable reason forgotten to inform Saqa when the accreditation list was updated.

Attempts to obtain comment from officials at the training authority were unsuccessful.

However, Matlala described the Sapma claims as baseless.

Matlala added he did not receive accreditation from Chieta in his personal capacity but for his company while employed by Sapma, adding there was nothing in his Sapma contract that prevented him from opening his own business.

He confirmed the unit standard training course for which he received accreditation from Chieta were identical to those of the Sapma’s training academy, but claimed those unit standards were owned by Saqa.

Matlala said anyone could use those training unit standards and Sapma’s claim that he was using their intellectual property was baseless.

Commenting on how his training courses were accredited by Chieta so quickly, Matlala said: “It took them (Sapma) whatever amount of years because they did not know what they were doing. 

"I knew exactly what I was doing. That's why it did not take me long.”

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