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 Service Communication 
50583  National Certificate: Public Service Communication 
SGB Government Communication and Information Stms 
PSETA - Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 04 - Communication Studies and Language  Communication Studies 
Undefined  120  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  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 does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 


The purpose of this qualification is to empower individuals with the knowledge to identify and formulate communication needs, contribute in developing communication tools and be able to communicate and disseminate government information.

This qualification will be useful to a variety of Public Service Communicators, including but not limited to:
  • Communication officers.
  • Public Relation Officers.
  • Community development workers.
  • Stringers.
  • Planners (at basic level).
  • Campaigners (at participation level).
  • Marketers and distributors of government services and products.
  • Political office bearers.
  • Members of civil society involved in Public Service-related communication, such as social workers, health workers, lawyers, volunteers, interns.

    Recipients of this qualification are able to:
  • Identify and formulate communication needs.
  • Contribute to development of communication tools.
  • Communicate and disseminate information on government policy and services effectively, using a variety of media and tools.


    In a democratic system of government, it is vital that there be clear and open communication channels between the Public Service and different publics. This is an entry level qualification to provide a mechanism for recognition of those who are able to engage in a variety of ways to meet the information needs of publics and promote the image of government. In particular, the qualification provides a mechanism to recognise the competence of those who are able to:
  • Carry out the national, provincial and local communication strategies, externally and/or internally.
  • Facilitate implementation of communication projects contribute to the development of government information products.
  • Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate communication strategy at all three spheres of government.
  • Facilitate and coordinate development of communication and information projects and activities.
  • Understand government communication and information system to ensure that the public is informed of government's implementation of its mandate. 

    A Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC).

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification can be achieved wholly or in part through recognition of prior learning in terms of the defined exit level outcomes and/or individual unit standards.

    Evidence can be presented in various ways, including international and/or previous local qualifications, products, reports, testimonials mentioning functions performed, work records, portfolios, videos of practice and performance records.

    All such evidence will be judged in accordance with the general principles of assessment described above and the requirements for integrated assessment.

    Access to the qualification:

    A Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) or working experience at the level of NQF 4. 


  • Candidates are required to achieve 15 credits for the Fundamental unit standards.

  • Candidates must achieve all 85 core credits.

  • Candidates must achieve at least 20 credits of their choice from the available 66 elective credits. 

    1. Engage in government communication activities.
    2. Apply media principles and practices.
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of human rights and democratic governance.
    4. Demonstrate understanding of marketing.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:

    This qualification addresses the following critical cross-field outcomes, as detailed in the associated unit standards:
  • Identifying and solving problems in which responses indicate that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made.
  • Working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community.
  • Organising and managing oneself and one`s activities responsibly and effectively.
  • Collecting, analysing, organising and critically evaluating information.
  • Communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral/written persuasion.
  • Using science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.

    Learning programmes directed towards this qualification will also contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the society at large, by making individuals aware of the importance of:
  • Reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively.
  • Participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities.
  • Being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts.
  • Exploring education and career opportunities; and developing entrepreneurial opportunities. 

  • Activities are carried out in line with strategic objectives and organisational policy.
  • Activities are carried out in a manner that promotes government image.
  • Government communication processes are applied using appropriate mechanisms and products and in line with given protocols and principles.
  • Assessments identify the effect of communication in relation to the intended purposes of the communication.
  • Media and community relations are developed, monitored and maintained in a manner that communicates government information effectively.
  • Government communication campaigns and communication activities are implemented and coordinated according to agreed plans and principles.

  • Government communications are carried out using appropriate media in line with established media principles and practices.
  • Common journalistic techniques are employed effectively in the development and implementation of government communications.

  • Human rights and democratic practices are described in ways that reveal their relevance to and impact upon South African society.
  • Human rights and democratic practices are described in terms of their foundational principles and historical development.
  • Key concepts of human rights and democracy are explained in terms of their application in society.

  • Marketing communication is defined in terms of its nature, role and history.
  • Marketing communications are explained in terms of ethical, social, cultural and legal issues.
  • Assistance is provided related to marketing functions.

    Integrated assessment:

    Assessment is to take place according to the detailed specifications indicated in the unit standards associated with each exit level outcome. Over and above the achievement of the specified unit standards, evidence of integration will be required as per the broad assessment criteria specified above, all within the context of everyday public communication activities, dealing with divergent and random demands related to public communications.

    Assessors should note that the evidence of integration could well be presented by learners when being assessed against the unit standards - thus there should not necessarily be separate assessments for each unit standard and then further assessment for integration. Well designed assessments, including formative and summative, should make it possible to gain evidence against each unit standard while at the same time gaining evidence of integration.

    Assessment should be in accordance with the following general and specific principles:
  • The initial assessment activities should focus on gathering evidence in terms of the exit level outcomes and the main outcomes expressed in the titles of the unit standards to ensure assessment is integrated rather than fragmented. Where assessment at title level is unmanageable, then the assessment can focus on each specific outcome, or groups of specific outcomes. Take special note of the need for integrated assessment.
  • Evidence must be gathered across the entire range specified in each unit standard, as applicable. Assessment activities should be as close to the real performance as possible, and where simulations or role-plays are used, there should be supporting evidence to prove that the candidate is able to perform in the real situation.
  • All assessments should be conducted in accordance with the following universally accepted principles of assessment:

    > Use appropriate, fair and manageable methods that are integrated into real work-related or learning situations.
    > Judge evidence on the basis of its validity, currency, authenticity and sufficiency.
    > Ensure assessment processes are systematic, open and consistent. 

    An extensive search for qualifications and learning programmes related to public service communications was carried out in Botswana, Egypt, England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The search revealed that there were no international qualifications that focus primarily on Public Service Communications.

    The search of internationally comparable qualifications lead to the NZQA National Diploma in Marketing with an elective strand in public relations. The South African Public Service Communications Qualifications were informed by many of the unit standards contained in this NZQA, qualification, and the unit standards are hence comparable. The relevant unit standards in the NQZQA qualification are as follows:
  • 11603: Apply communication processes, and assess communication effects for public relations programmes.
  • 11604: Formulate and coordinate public relations communications.
  • 11591: Formulate and produce communication strategies for public relations programmes and activities.
  • 11607: Review and evaluate public relations programmes and services.
  • 10355: Identify and advocate news for publication or broadcast.
  • 10356: Research print and electronic sources for journalism.
  • 10376: Demonstrate knowledge of media ethics.
  • 9694: Analyse and apply principles of communication process theory.
  • 11587: Identify the role and functions of the New Zealand public relations industry.
  • 11588: Establish social, ethical, legal, and regulatory parameters for public relations activities.
  • 11593: Plan and manage public relations programmes.
  • 11595: Establish, develop, and manage public relations media relationships.
  • 11589: Direct and coordinate research of public relations issues and activities.
  • 9674: Facilitate a group and/or team to gather ideas and information.
  • 9684: Collaborate in a group to deliver an oral presentation.
  • 9692: Present information orally to an audience.

    The search identified qualifications in New Zealand that have a broader focus on public sector services, and comparisons were carried out in relation to these qualifications. Despite the lack of comparable qualifications internationally, there remains a definite need in the South African context for qualifications that are aimed at those involved specifically in communications within the public service, and the competencies thus revolve around communication and related competencies. The area of public service communications is a most important and growing one within the South African context. For comparison purposes, the following qualifications from New Zealand may be considered, although they are not directly comparable in terms of level and scope:
  • National Certificate: Public Sector Services - Level 4

    This qualification is for people seeking a career or employment in the Public Service. The qualification is also relevant in the wider public sector, particularly in those agencies and organisations who are providing services to the public on behalf of the government.The qualification recognises the generic skills, knowledge, understandings, attitudes and values expected of a competent role holder in a wide range of contexts in the Public Service and the wider public sector. This qualification may be complemented by competencies related to the specific role (for example Business Administration) and/or competencies relevant to the specific organisation (for example Inland Revenue).As well as recognising competencies in relation to the public sector context, this qualification also identifies information technology, communications, writing, and service delivery competencies.
  • National Certificate: Public Sector Services (Field/Community Advisors) - Level 5

    This qualification is for people who are employed in the public sector as field or community advisors. People employed in these roles undertake a wide variety of tasks in diverse contexts for a significant number of public sector agencies.The qualification recognises that in addition to the agency specific knowledge and understanding, advisors require a range of skills to perform activities that are relatively standard across the agencies. These include: liaising with community or business groups or individuals; interpreting and translating Government policy to users; providing advice and support in relation to government funding and policy or project work; facilitating meetings and workshops; and giving presentations.The compulsory section is designed to reflect the key theme of advisors work, which is to provide an interface between government policy and community action. Holders of this qualification are able to demonstrate a high level of understanding of the roles of the individuals and public servants in community development as required by the New Zealand Public Service Code of Conduct. The elective section allows advisors to select the most appropriate complimentary skills for their position. 

    This qualification can build on an FETC, and be used as a building block towards a National Certificate: Public Service Communication (Level 6), ID 50585.

    People with this qualification could also move into areas of study related to qualifications in Marketing, Public Relations, Diplomacy, Journalism, Drama and Arts, Advertising, and Audio Visual/Broadcasting. 

  • Providers offering learning towards this qualification or the component unit standards must be accredited by the appropriate ETQA.
  • Moderators must be registered as assessors 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 appropriate ETQA according to moderation principles and the agreed ETQA procedures. 

  • Assessors must be registered in terms of the requirements of SAQA and the appropriate ETQA.
  • Registered assessors must have a relevant qualification at NQF level 6 or equivalent and/or be a subject matter expert in this learning area. 

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


    Core  115409  Assist with tasks related to marketing, market research and promotions  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  10032  Demonstrate an understanding of and define the nature, role and history of marketing communication  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  10033  Demonstrate an understanding of ethical, cultural and legal issues in marketing communication  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  119661  Demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of human rights and democracy  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  119662  Describe the relevance of human rights and democratic practices in South African society  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  12156  Apply government communication processes and assess communication effects  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  117546  Collect information for journalistic use  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  114488  Coordinate government communication activities  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  119665  Demonstrate understanding of the concept of human rights and democracy and its application in society  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  12 
    Core  114477  Develop and maintain community relations to communicate government information  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  114481  Develop, maintain and monitor media relations to communicate government information  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  114987  Identify products needed to communicate government information  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  114490  Implement government communication campaign activities  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  110360  Interview for a variety of journalistic purposes  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  15093  Demonstrate insight into democracy as a form of governance and its implications for a diverse society  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  115789  Sustain oral interaction across a wide range of contexts and critically evaluate spoken texts  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  115790  Write and present for a wide range of purposes, audiences and contexts  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  10035  Demonstrate an understanding of creative principles of marketing communications  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  120375  Participate in the estimation and preparation of cost budget for a project or sub project and monitor and control actual cost against budget  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  115410  Perform support duties related to various types of PR events  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  115414  Perform support functions for media liaison, publicity campaigns and corporate social investment programmes  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  10041  Conduct a marketing situational analysis  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  110357  Report for a variety of journalistic purposes  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  12 
    Elective  117558  Write scripts for an audio visual medium  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  110361  Write stories for a variety of journalistic purpose in print  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 


    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.