South African Qualifi cations Authority (SAQA) completed the development of and
is implementing the Policy and Criteria for Recognising a Professional Body and
Registering a Professional Designation for the Purposes of the National Qualifi cations
Framework Act, Act 67 of 2008. The entity has recognised 85 professional bodies
and registered 290 professional designations since July 2012. However, this article
argues that there is a legal and subsequent policy error related to the registration of
professional designations on the NQF. This must be rectifi ed in law and in policy.
While professional designations do have a relationship to the NQF by virtue of
underlying qualifi cations, designations in itself cannot be registered on the NQF.
However, through another mechanism, the National Learners’ Records Database,
a separate register for professional designations must be established in order to
measure the real impact of professionalisation in contributing to the continuing
transformation in South Africa. Addressing unfair exclusionary practices within
the professions will require political will and consistency in ensuring meaningful
stakeholder participation, academic rigour and investment in ensuring sustainable
capacity in regard to systems, people and money.