A look back at 2017: IO Psychology in South Africa

If we look back at this year we can certainly agree that 2017 is an excellent example of the VUCA world. It was a year full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. On the international stage, we saw and experienced Brexit, Donald Trump, North Korea and fake news, just to name a few. Whereas in Southern Africa, corruption scandals, state capture and the end of the Robert Mugabe reign continue to put tremendous pressure on economies and society.

It is no wonder that IO Psychologists started talking about the importance of agility in Talent Management and People Assessment. Constructs such as Emotional Agility, Learning Agility and Cultural Agility are all at the top of Talent Managers’ minds when making talent decisions.

In South Africa, a High Court Judgement was handed down by Judge Mali on the 2nd of May 2017, that declared the amendment of section 8 (clause “d”) of the Employment Equity Act, Act 55 of 1998 null and void, and of no force or effect.

The now-voided Clause d required that all Psychological and other assessments had to be certified by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The Judge agreed with the Association of Test Publishers of South Africa that the necessary regulations and objective test classifications systems were not in place.

The outcome of this court case is of great significance. Employers and Psychologists who have been hesitant to make use of tests that have not been placed on the HPCSA list of certified assessments, can now reconsider their stance. This does not, however, take away from the fact that all assessments used in the workplace as per the EEA section 8 (a), (b) and (c) should have concrete evidence about their reliability, validity, fairness and non-biased nature in the South African population.

This Judgement provides the necessary space for everyone involved in the assessment of people in the workplace to work together in order to create statutory and voluntary frameworks that will meet best practice requirements. This will ensure an environment that will encourage and manage the ethical use of assessment tools and processes in people assessment.

Looking ahead, 2018 will again be a challenging year for everyone involved in Talent Management and People Assessment. However, I am confident that we are motivated now more than ever to work together and navigate the VUCA world and its impact on our ability as practitioners and scientists to make sound decisions that can address the social, as well as the economic needs of society.

We are all looking forward to a wonderful and exciting new year, but for now it is time to take a breather, relax and enjoy this wonderful time of the year.

On behalf of all of us at TTS-Top Talent Solutions, I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


Prof. Hennie Kriek

CEO, Top Talent Solutions