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: Chemical Systems Operations 
22867  National Certificate: Chemical Systems Operations 
Chemical Industries SGB 
Was CHIETA until Last Date for Achievement  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
Undefined  122  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Registered" 
SAQA 0144/02  2002-10-09  2005-10-09 
2006-10-09   2009-10-09  

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 is replaced by: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
58537  National Certificate: Chemical Operations  Level 3  NQF Level 03  120  Complete 

A person acquiring this qualification will be able to operate system in a chemical processing operation to achieve the intend changes to the material being processed through the application of appropriate principles and practices.

This qualification will contribute to the full development of the learner with in the processing environment by providing recognition, facilitating mobility and transportability within the field of manufacturing and assembly and other fields where the same attributes are needed. The knowledge, understanding and skill demonstrated within this qualification are essential for social and economic transformation and contribute to the upliftment and economic growth within the manufacturing and processing environment.


The candidates for this qualification are likely to be working in a large process operation, which is made up of systems. Operation of each system requires process specific knowledge and skill. This knowledge and skill is based on common principles. By applying these principles in a minimum of 10 systems the recipient of the qualification is considered to be competent to operate a variety of different systems. This implies that the recipient also has the expertise to become competent in operating additional systems after appropriate additional training.

In this qualification the knowledge, understanding and skill needed to monitor and control a system in a chemical process, whilst complying with safety, health, environmental, chemical hazard, quality, legal and (site operating) instructions and requirements is acquired and applied in different contexts (as found in different systems).

Additional learning to become competent in areas such as the use of computers, that are useful when operating a system and may be required at specific workplaces or be needed as part of a learner`s personal career plan is recommended.

The learning needed to operate systems is based upon the knowledge and skill used in the operation of equipment within a process. This qualification is intended for learners seeking to progress from equipment operation to system operation and to achieve a more advanced qualification. The increased technical and reasoning skills and appreciation of how complex processes operate, empowers the learner to address complex situations within, and beyond, the operation of a chemical process. This can be applied in alternative work and living situations thereby empowering the learner to act in an innovative manner in varied situations to the mutual benefit of self and the community. This attribute positions the learner well for further learning, especially in a technical career.

Innovative operators who understand the process used in an operation are needed in large operations. Their contribution to these organizations is highly beneficial not only in the creation of wealth but in achieving this with minimal negative impact on the environment. This is of common benefit to the state, local community, employers and the employee. 

Candidates embarking on learning towards this qualification are expected to be competent in the operation of equipment and to have applied relevant knowledge in the operation of equipment in a process operation. The learning assumed to be in place is the National Certificate in Chemical Equipment Operations - Level 2 or equivalent.

Recognition of prior learning:

This qualification can be achieved wholly or in part through recognition of prior learning in terms of the criteria laid out above.

Evidence can be presented in a variety of forms, including international or previous local qualifications, reports, testimonials mentioning functions performed, work records, portfolios, videos of practice and performance records.

All such evidence should be judged according to the general principles of assessment 



1. Explain and use technology related to material, product and process in the operation of systems

2. Operate chemical systems within large chemical process operations

Critical cross-field outcomes
The combination of the unit standards included in this qualification address critical cross-field outcomes as follows:

a) identifying and solving problems in which responses display that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made that results in the operation of the system as intended

b) working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organization, or community assures that the system performs in synergy with the total operating process and that the system operator is an effective member of the total operating team

c) organizing and managing oneself and one`s activities responsibly and effectively ensures efficient system operation and that the system operates within the requirements for the whole process

d) collecting, analysing, organizing and critically evaluating information enables the system operator to make the decisions required and to comply with instructions

e) communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written persuasion is needed to communicate with team members within the system and with the process controller and or technical management

f) using science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others contributes to compliance with the process, safety, health, environmental and instructions within the spirit and letter of the legislation with which systems are operated

g) demonstrating an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognizing that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation the impact of operating a system has on the chemical process, the environment and society.

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:

i. reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively in that the learner is required to be proactive in the work place based learning process
ii. participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities through the application of their increased knowledge and skill beyond their immediate workplace
iii. being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts is critical with in and beyond the process plant where a systems operator must interact with people from different backgrounds who have varied beliefs and values
iv. exploring education and career opportunities; and developing entrepreneurial opportunities is expected of people who are challenged in the learning process to reflect on the consequences and impact of their work and the opportunities identified from this thinking process. 

  • Solve problems using process chemistry and related technology and related mathematics
  • Use information technology as a communication tool
  • Use information technology for calculations and date processing

  • Execute the normal operating activities in accordance with standard operating procedures
  • Address hazardous and emergency situations in accordance with standard operating procedures
  • Comply with legal and site specific health safety and environmental requirements

    Integrated Assessment

    All the aspects of operating a system are critical. Therefore integrated assessment of the operating standards is required. Overall assessment is achieved through summative assessment and the integrated of the assessment of the knowledge, understanding and operating skills of the standards. Evidence relating to the critical cross-field outcomes is evaluated through integrated assessment of the unit standards. 

    This qualification and the component unit standards have been compared with similar qualifications from the following countries:
  • United Kingdom - This qualification is comparable with NVQ Qualifications in process operations (chemical and pharmaceuticals at Level 3)
  • New Zealand - There is evidence of substantive equivalence between this qualification and a process operator in the Petrochemical Industry (level 3)

    In general this qualification and its component unit standards compare well with their international and local counterparts. The major differences are in formatting and scope of coverage or focus. 

    This qualification equips the learner to progress in a career in chemical process operations at NQF Level 4.

    The knowledge and skill in the exit level outcomes of this qualification facilitate articulation to alternative career opportunities including chemical and similar manufacturing, and more specialized careers such as quality assurance and environmental management. 

    Providers offering learning towards achievement of any of the unit standards that make up this qualification must be accredited by the relevant ETQA The criteria for accreditation are stated in the SAQA ETQA Regulations.

    Moderation of assessment will be conducted by a moderator who is:
  • A subject field expert
  • Registered as a Moderator by the relevant ETQA or a provider accredited by the relevant ETQA after achieving competence against the Moderator Unit standards
  • Registered as a constituent Moderator by the relevant ETQA . Moderation will be carried out in accordance with the mechanisms specified by the relevant ETQA.

    Alternative criteria, which may be or become appropriate, will be acceptable provided that these are agreed to in writing by the relevant ETQA prior to commencement of the moderation process and that they comply with the ETQA regulations (RSA, 1998b) and in Criteria and Guidelines: ETQAs (SAQA, 1999).

    Particular accreditation requirements related to this qualification are:
  • Adequate exposure to an appropriate workplace to ensure that the assessment criteria of the unit standards are met. > That integrative assessment of related standards is carried out. This is of particular importance when assessing the standards relating to the operation of equipment
  • Providers offering learning towards achievement of any of the unit standards that make up this qualification must be accredited by the relevant ETQA .

    Verification of moderation

    Verification of moderation must be conducted in accordance with the requirements specified by the relevant ETQA. 

    Assessment must be carried out by an assessor who is:
  • A subject matter expert.
  • Registered by the relevant ETQA or a provider accredited by the relevant ETQA after achieving competency against the assessor Unit Standards.
  • Registered as a constituent assessor by the relevant ETQA.
  • Administered, advised and coached by a Constituent Moderator. 

  • NOTES 
    This qualification has been replaced by qualification 58537, which is "National certificate: Chemical Operations: NQF level 3", Level 3, 120 credits.

    Access is open to anyone with access to learning opportunities and work experience on an appropriate selection of systems. The learning assumed to be in place is essential to the learning specified in this qualification. If the learner is not yet competent in this regard the shortfalls must be addressed prior to commencing with learning specified in this qualification. This is necessary to ensure the safety of the learner, co-workers, the process plant and the environment.

    Note for assessors:

    Assessors should keep the following general principles in mind when designing and conducting assessments:
  • Focus the initial assessment activities on gathering evidence in terms of the main outcomes expressed in the titles of the unit standards to ensure assessment is integrated rather than fragmented. The aim is to declare the person competent in terms of the qualification purpose. Where assessment across titles or at title level is unmanageable, then focus assessment around each specific outcome, or groups of specific outcomes. Take special note of the need for integrated assessment.
  • Make sure evidence is gathered across the entire range, wherever it applies. 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 show the candidate is able to perform in the real situation.

    Range In the large chemical processing environment:
  • A system is understood to be equipment operated in combination to achieve a desired result in a chemical or related process operation
  • Operating a system includes the integrated operation of the equipment that makes up the system
  • Systems operated independently or as part of a larger chemical process comprising of more than one system 

    Core  14778  Collect and interpret non-routine information regarding system conditions  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14785  Contribute to the maintenance of a system  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14791  Establish system start up conditions  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14796  Monitor and maintain system conditions  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14798  Respond to hazardous conditions or emergencies  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14799  Shut down the plant to a specified state  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14802  Start up the system  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Fundamental  8968  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8969  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8973  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8970  Write texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14783  Conform to and apply legislation and operational instructions in chemical processing  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  7567  Produce and use spreadsheets for business  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  7570  Produce word processing documents for business  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14801  Solve operating problems using process chemistry and related technology  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 

    When qualifications are replaced, some of their learning programmes are moved to being recorded against the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replacement.

    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 Quality Assuring Bodies 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 Quality Assuring Body 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.