Cost of world youth festival was R100m, says NYDA

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has revealed that the true cost of hosting the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students was in excess of R100-million.

The nine-day festival, held in December last year, was plagued by organisational troubles — several high-profile speakers originally billed to attend the event failed to show up and there were problems with catering, accommodation and transport.

Earlier estimates for the cost of hosting the event — which brought together 15 000 youths from 126 countries under the theme “Let’s defeat imperialism for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation” — were R69-million.

But the NYDA maintains that these estimates were the result of the media being “quick to report on the figures” while the agency was still busy fundraising.

Speaking at a press conference held at the NYDA headquarters in Midrand on Tuesday morning, chairperson Andile Lungisa said the agency remains “convinced that the funds spent on the festival — could not have been spent otherwise”.

How funds were spent
A breakdown of expenditure showed that travel and accommodation (R24,5-million) and catering (R29,9-million) made up the bulk of the cost involved in hosting the festival. Entertainment costs contributed an additional R9,4-million to the price tag.

The NYDA received most of its funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, which committed to providing R40-million, and the government, which provided an additional R29-million.

It also received R3-million in funding from the Department of Arts and Culture, R1,8-million from the Department of Communications, and R5,5-million from provinces. Various municipalities provided “small amounts” averaging about R10 000. The agency said registration fees provided an additional R2,3-million while R17-million came from other funders.

Steven Ngubeni, the NYDA’s CEO, said R7,2-million was yet to be paid to nine service providers.

Tying up loose ends
The agency has prepared a report on the festival, which it is to present to Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and other funders on Tuesday. In addition, it will report to Parliament on matters concerning the NYDA next week.

Ngubeni said the agency is confident that its reporting is in order and that its figures are “rock solid”. He said he believes issues around the festival can now be brought to closure.

The NYDA said it would continue to roll out legacy programmes, including a free education campaign and a programme to distribute sanitary towels to young women, and that further legacy projects would be confirmed “in due course”.

Lungisa also maintained that the benefits of the festival could also be seen in events unfolding on the African content, from Egypt to Tunisia, where festival participants were “leading from the front in the campaign for democracy in their respective countries”.

“We are not saying it’s a result of the festival. What we are simply saying is that young people who attended the festival in South Africa, they are at the forefront. In fact, there were no protests before the festival, the only protests were after the festival. You must make your own conclusions,” he said.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


‘Tenderpreneurs’ block the delivery of protective equipment to schools

Protests by local suppliers have delayed PPE delivery, which according to the DBE, is one of the reasons the reopening of schools has been pushed back until June 8

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday