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.

Occupational Certificate: Above Surface Cleaner 
118712  Occupational Certificate: Above Surface Cleaner 
Development Quality Partner - Services SETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Part-Qualification  Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services  Preventive Health 
Undefined  46  Not Applicable  NQF Level 01  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 0522/24  2022-02-03  2025-12-31 
2026-12-31   2029-12-31  

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 prepare learners to function as a an Above Surface Cleaner. An Above Surface Cleaner, cleans and disinfects above floor structures, fixtures and accessories surfaces in a commercial environment. In addition, learner attributes (including communication) will be integrated in the learning process. Learners will have to prove competence of the above knowledge, skills, attitudes, responsibilities and tasks imbedded in the exit level outcomes.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Plan and prepare to clean above surface.
  • Clean above surface

    This part-qualification is important to address the skills of the current and future employees serving all forms of commercial enterprises. Many commercial entities draw commercial cleaners from a unique group of semi-literate people in the country. The employees are currently trained using unit standard from various qualifications but the occupation itself does not have focused and formalised training programme.

    The need for formalisation of the qualification was emphasised by many role players that included Black Economic Empowerment (BEECA) Cleaning Association, Professional Body for Environmental Hygiene (PBEH) and National Contract Cleaners Association (NCCA). The skills acquired by the qualified commercial cleaner will remain important boost for the multiple sectors.

    The qualified employees will enhance commercial value offering and improve the customer experiences for most commercial cleaning offerings. The young people drawn into this sector will improve not only their cleaning skills but also serve the country broadly across different sectors. The skills gained can be used in various economic sectors to enhance hygienic working environment and improve health and safety standard in the commercial environment.

    Opportunities for growth are abundant for many qualified people. Not only will they have a qualification that can very easily enable them to move horizontally as butlers amongst others but vertically into supervisory roles in many contracted commercial cleaning companies. This qualification will contribute to the full development of the learner within the commercial industry by providing recognition, further mobility, and transportability within the sector.

    This qualification forms part of a suite of related qualifications in a commercial cleaning occupational pathway. Learners wishing to become a Commercial Cleaner can enrol for this qualification (Occupational Qualification: Commercial Cleaner, Level 1) or alternatively first enrol for the following part qualifications:
  • Commercial Kitchenette Cleaner Level 1.
  • Commercial Ablution Cleaner Level 1.
  • Above Surface Cleaner Level 1.
  • Commercial Floor Cleaner Level 1.

    Should such a learner wish to, at a later stage, enrol for the Occupational Certificate: Commercial Cleaner he/she will be granted recognition for modules already completed (CAT). In a similar manner, learners will be able to move from the any of the part qualifications to the Commercial Cleaning pathway. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
  • Learners will gain access to the part-qualification through RPL for Access as provided for in the QCTO. RPL Policy. RPL for access is conducted by accredited education institution, skills development provider or workplace accredited to offer that specific qualification/part qualification.
  • Learners who have acquired competencies of the modules of a qualification or part-qualification will be credited for modules through RPL.

    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning.
    Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result.

    Entry Requirements:
    The minimum entry requirement for this part-qualification is:
  • Open Access 


    This part-qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules
  • 811201-000-00-KM-01 Introduction to the World of Work, Level 1, 6 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-KM-04 Commercial Cleaning Equipment, Chemicals and Consumables, Level 1, 5 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-KM-08 Introduction to Above the Floor Surface, Level 1, 4 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 15

    Practical Skill Modules
  • 811201-000-00-PM-01 Complete Before Shift Duties, Level 1, 3 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-PM-02 Clean Above Floor Surfaces, Level 1, 6 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-PM-07 Check and Confirm Completed Tasks, Level 1, 5 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 14

    Work Experience Modules
  • 811201-000-00-WM-01 Procedures for Completing Before Shift Duties, Level 1, 4 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-WM-02 Procedures for Cleaning Above the Floor Surfaces, NQF Level 1, 7 Credits.
  • 811201-000-00-WM-07 Procedures for Checking and Confirming Completed Tasks, Level 1, 6 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 17 

    1. Prepare equipment and tools, chemicals, and consumables to clean above surface to specifications.
    2. Complete cleaning of above surface to standard using cleaning principles and methods. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Don the PPE in compliance to professional appearance and safety requirements.
  • Select tools and equipment in compliance to the assignment requirements for cleaning the above surfaces.
  • Conduct inspection on equipment, tools, consumables and chemicals record and report usage and additional stock requirements for above surface cleaning.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Provide explanation for functioning within workplaces to demonstrate a complete understanding of concepts and application within the work of work.
  • Demonstrate the use of equipment, tools, chemicals and consumables to understanding of their use, storage and functions to industry standards.
  • Complete the end of task duties to industry standard and storage requirements.
  • Keep the records for usage of chemicals and consumables, and their replenishment thereof for compliance to procedural requirements.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Learner competence must be demonstrated through a variety of options which can include formative assessment including but not limited to tests, case studies, problem solving assignments, projects and practical exercises. Learners are required to do an integrated summative assessment.

    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The Skills Development Provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated External Summative Assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An External Integrated Summative Assessment conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The External Integrated Summative Assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria.

    The external summative assessment will be conducted through an evaluation of practical tasks and theoretical questions at an assessment centre accredited by the QCTO and conducted by an assessor registered by the AQP. The assessment will take place over a minimum of one (1) day. 

    This part-qualification was compared to the following international qualifications:
    The international comparability exercise was undertaken to compare the current occupational Certificate: Commercial Cleaner with equivalent or related qualifications from specific countries in terms of their scope, levels and curriculum content. The purpose of this exercise is to compare this part-qualification against existing and comparable practice internationally. The exercise was conducted with two countries, namely: Australia and United States of America (USA).

    In Australia, Victorian Skills Gateways offers Certificate 11 Cleaning (Commercial Cleaner). The scope of the training provides for a commercial cleaner who cleans offices, residential complexes, hospitals, schools, industrial work areas, industrial machines, construction sites and other commercial premises using heavy duty cleaning equipment.

    The skills provided enable the Commercial cleaner to be able to vacuuming carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture; cleaning, dusting and polishing furniture, fixtures and fittings; removing rubbish and recyclable material, and emptying containers, bins and trays; stripping wax from floors, re-waxing and polishing floor; cleaning and disinfecting laundry and bathroom fixtures, replenishing supplies and reporting defective plumbing fixtures; operating industrial vacuum cleaners to clean floors, work areas and machines; removing dust and dirt from ceilings, walls, overhead pipes and fixtures; applying acids and solvents to surfaces to remove stains and dirt; removing lint, dust, soot, oil, grease, sludge and other residues from machines, hulls and holds of ships, and interiors and exteriors of furnaces, boilers and tanks.

    The certificate covers the large part of this qualification, but its scope extends beyond the RSA qualification. The RSA Commercial Cleaner does not do industrial cleaning, but the scope is limited to commercial environment like offices environment.

    United States of America (USA)
    In the USA, the New Skills Academy offers Home & Commercial Cleaning Certification programme. The programme is industry recognised certification that covers twenty-two (22) information packed modules completed online. On completion of the course the learners are required to pass a multiple-choice test, which covers all the twenty-two modules.

    The programme covers amongst others the following skills: essential cleaning equipment; chemical safety; understand the job in detail; essential cleaning techniques and expected standards; cleaning products and protective clothing; the importance of effective kitchen cleaning; identify how to complete commercial kitchen cleaning to the highest standard; clean a bathroom and toilet area; hospital cleaning from areas you may need to clean to health and safety requirements; how office cleaning differs from residential cleaning and identify various techniques to effectively clean staff toilets; industrial cleaning, along with the difference between wet and dry industrial vacuum cleaners and how to keep safe when cleaning these environments, etc.

    The defined modules are like those proposed in this qualification, however, the scope of the USA qualification extends beyond the scope of the Commercial Cleaner in the RSA. The differences are that the RSA part-qualification does not provide for industrial, domestic and cleaning of health facilities.

    The qualifications analysed from these two countries are comparable to the Occupational Certificate: Above Surface Cleaner. The minor exception is in the duration of the training programme, methods of delivery (online in USA) and scope of the training programme. The RSA part-qualification does not do glazing nor industrial cleaning. These specific skills are important for respective subsectors but source their own skills which in many ways are different from those of the Commercial Cleaner. 

    This part-qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Commercial Kitchenette Cleaner, NQF Level 1

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Laundry Worker, NQF Level 2 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required knowledge and practical modules by means of statements of results and a record of completed work experience.

    Additional Legal or Physical Entry Requirements:
  • None

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code are: Above Surface Cleaner: 811201-000-03.

    Encompassed Trade:
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
    This is not a trade qualification.

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
    Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA)

    Parent Qualification
  • Occupational Certificate: Commercial Cleaner, NQF Level 1.

    Related Part-qualifications
  • Occupational Certificate: Commercial Kitchenette Cleaner, NQF Level 1.
  • Occupational Certificate: Commercial Ablution Cleaner, NQF Level 1.
  • Occupational Certificate: Commercial Floor Cleaner, NQF Level 1. 


    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.