DA 'deeply concerned' over youth agency money

Opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed “deep concern” about a decision to allocate R1,22-billion to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) over the next three years.

“Dedicating billions of rands of public money to a poorly managed and ineffective entity—which has essentially been hijacked by the African National Congress Youth League—is an entirely misguided approach to promoting the development of our country’s youth,” DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said in a statement.

Beeld newspaper reported on Friday that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had said he did not know how the controversial NYDA would use that money, allocated to it in the budget, to create jobs.

“I don’t know,” Gordhan reportedly said, replying to a question by a DA member during a meeting of parliamentary committees about the budget speech on how the NYDA would create jobs.

Trollip said in a statement released on Thursday the NYDA’s “shambolic organisation of the totalitarian youth festival hosted by the ANCYL in December last year, which came with a R100-million price tag, was a powerful illustration of the NYDA’s unashamed conflation of party and state, and its brazen use of public money to fund ANC Youth League events”.

“The DA is deeply concerned about the Treasury’s decision to allocate R1,22-billion to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) over the next three years.

“In its short history, the NYDA has come to embody the very worst aspects of ANC governance: cronyism, poor administration and chronic under-delivery,” said Trollip.

‘Wasteful expenditure’
Earlier this month, the NYDA said in a statement it would “work towards achieving government’s target of bringing unemployment down to 15% by 2020”.

Its chairperson, Andile Lungisa, said the NYDA had “created or sustained 15 810 jobs mainly through [its] enterprise finance and business development services divisions”.

He said the divisions offered “business development support services such as bookkeeping, marketing and tendering support” and had issued business loans to the value of R14,2-million to 6 089 enterprises since March 2010.

“Through these micro-loans to young people who then go out and employ other people, that’s how we have created jobs,” he said.

“And also through funding of many community projects like the one in Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal, where young people are selling eggs and chickens at a chicken farm.”

Lungisa’s statement came shortly after the agency announced that its widely criticised 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, which was held at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria in December, cost R100-million to stage instead of the R69-million first reported.

Opposition parties called the event a “wasteful expenditure”.

Delegates attending the festival complained of transport and catering problems, caterers complained of not getting paid, while several high-profile speakers who were scheduled to address delegates according to the event programme, never arrived.—Sapa

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