SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or 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 
50585  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  129  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  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 those in leadership roles with the knowledge to identify and formulate communication needs, contribute in developing communication strategy and tools and be able to communicate government information to help meet the communication and information needs of both government and the people.

This qualification will be useful for those involved in leadership roles in Public Service Communications working in all three spheres of government, i.e. national, provincial and local. The qualification will be useful to the following:
  • Communication strategists.
  • Speech writers.
  • Government communication analysts and policy developers.
  • Media liaison officers/press secretaries.
  • Government communication advisors.
  • Public journalists.
  • Public Relations officers.
  • Communication content developers and copywriters.
  • Developers/producers of multi-media communication products.
  • Elected office bearers.

    Recipients of this qualification are able to initiate, design, develop, manage, implement, monitor and evaluate public service communication strategies, processes and products.


    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 qualification will provide a mechanism for recognition of those who are able to engage in a variety of ways to meet the information needs of publics, provide leadership in government communication and promote the image of government. In particular, the qualification provides a mechanism to recognise the competence of those who are able to:
  • Develop, manage, implement and act as custodians of communication strategies within a government framework.
  • Facilitate joint planning and implementation of communication projects.
  • Identify, develop and oversee government information campaigns and products. 

  • FETC or equivalent.

    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
  • FETC or equivalent.
  • The National Certificate Public Service Communications (Level 5) is not an entry requirement for this qualification. However, those who hold the level 5 qualification will receive credits for part of this qualification. 


  • Fundamental - all 12 credits.
  • Core - all 87 core credits.
  • Elective - at least 30 credits from any of the available 68 elective credits. 

    1. Develop and establish Public Service communication.
    2. Provide leadership in Public Service communication.
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of and apply principles and practices in the media.
    4. Demonstrate understanding of and apply human rights practices and democratic governance.
    5. Analyse marketing information and practices.

    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 and 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. 

  • Materials, products and policies are developed to meet Public Service Communication objectives.
  • Relationships are developed and maintained so as to facilitate ease of communication.
  • Relationships are developed and maintained with the media and communities in a way that promotes the policies and image of government.

  • Resources, personnel and activities are utilised and led in a coherent and effective manner in dynamic and random situations.
  • Management of resources is effective and in line with strategic planning.
  • Evaluations of the methods and effects of communications identify strengths and weaknesses of communications, and provide recommendations for future practices.

  • Data is accessed, processed, adapted and used from a wide range of texts in a manner that informs and communicates the required message.
  • Media principles and practices are applied in all activities related to government communication.
  • Media techniques used are appropriate for the audience and context.

  • Principles and practices related to democratic governance are integrated into all communication practices.
  • Concepts related to human rights and democracy are explained in terms of their origin and relevance to South African Society and Public Service communications.

  • Principles of marketing are applied in the development and leadership of communication activities.
  • Analysis of marketing information contributes to the effective development and implementation of communication programmes and processes.

    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 for 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 in 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.
  • National Certificate in Public Sector Services (Leadership Development - Middle Management) (Level 5)
    This qualification is for people employed in the public sector who hold, or seek to hold, positions of leadership. An understanding of the public sector ethical context is a key component of developing future leaders, and this competency is reflected in the qualification. The importance of interpersonal communication skills in team leadership and facilitation is also reflected.

    This qualification is part of a series of leadership qualifications planned for the public sector. It shares credits with and may lead on from the National Certificate in First Line Management (Level 4) [Ref: 0649] although the structure of the qualifications differ. Candidates who do not already hold that qualification will complete its requirements as part of this qualification. 

    This qualification can build on an FETC or the National Certificate: Public Service Communication (Level 5), ID 50593.

    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 7 or equivalent and/or be a subject matter expert in this learning area. 

  • NOTES 

    Core  115792  Access, process, adapt and use data from a wide range of texts  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  12156  Apply government communication processes and assess communication effects  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  12157  Develop and produce information products for government  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Core  12158  Formulate and coordinate government communications programmes  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Core  12605  Interview and lead discussion for radio broadcast purposes  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Core  114493  Manage interactive communication between public and government  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Core  12436  Develop and manage government communication campaigns  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  12435  Develop Government communication policies, strategies and processes  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  12160  Direct, coordinate and conduct research into government communication  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  12161  Establish, develop and manage media relationships to promote the image of Government  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  12437  Establish, develop and manage media relationships to promote the policies of Government  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  12163  Manage government communication processes and strategies  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Fundamental  110361  Write stories for a variety of journalistic purpose in print  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Elective  10056  Analyse and interpret data and marketing information  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  119664  Conduct an assessment of human rights and democracy practices in communities  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  12 
    Elective  119659  Examine law and structures in terms of their promotion of human rights and democracy  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  110358  Sub-edit non-specialist text  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  117558  Write scripts for an audio visual medium  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  10096  Monitor and evaluate a strategic marketing plan  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  20 


    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. Mgwezane Training and Management cc 
    2. South Africa School of Diplomacy, Protocol and Public Administration 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or 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.