National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) chairperson Andile Lungisa on Monday lamented the media’s “lack of interest” in covering youth issues, saying they were “more attracted by the burning of tables”.
“I’m not Miss South Africa so I can’t attract media; we must burn tables for the media to be interested,” Lungisa said in Pretoria at the launch of the Youth Month programme.
This was after a question was raised about the lack of NYDA visibility and awareness, particularly in townships.
Lungisa said the media, particularly e.tv, were partly to blame as they did not cover many of NYDA’s projects. He urged media institutions to partner with the agency and be more committed to youth development.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane admitted the agency was not making an impact on the youth, as indicated by the feedback received.
He said there were plans to expand the organisation’s reach.
“We will work on new strategies so that people can know about its existence and services. People do not know. We’ve noted that and we will work on it.”
It was revealed at the briefing that while the agency requested R1-billion last year, the current budget allocated to the agency by Parliament for 2011/12 was R380-million.
“We don’t have money at all times to do what we want to do … if the money is not sufficient, projects could be postponed or suspended until resources are available.”
Struggles of unemployment and poverty
Included in the June Youth Month programmes under the theme “Youth Action for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime” are June 16 celebrations at Orlando Stadium commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising, at which President Jacob Zuma will be the main speaker.
Chabane said this year’s Youth Month programme takes place within the context of the government’s declaration of 2011 as the year of job creation, and is consistent with the struggles of unemployment and poverty faced by the youth in South Africa and those abroad.
“It is consistent with the government’s commitment to meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth towards the total eradication of poverty and towards the development of the South African community,” he said.
June 16 also marks the second anniversary of the establishment of the NYDA. In the future, the agency intends expanding its satellite offices from 114 to 280.
So far, the agency had facilitated youth access to business funding to the value of R64.4-million. As part of its contribution to job creation, the NYDA had for the past two years sustained close to 60 000 jobs through various initiatives, Chabane said.
‘People can’t think beyond the festival’
The agency came under spotlight with its hosting of the International Youth Festival in December. It had been allocated R75-million and incurred expenses of more than R100-million.
The festival report detailing expenses has not been made public. Chabane said it first had to go through Cabinet.
Lungisa said all the expenses incurred at the festival had been paid.
“People can’t think beyond the festival. The youth festival is history, we are focusing on other things now.” — Sapa