The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the decision by Parliament to restart the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board appointment process following the objections by young people across the country. Last year, it became clear that 6 of the 7 candidates had links to the ANC in some way and that the NYDA board recommendations were an ANC-sponsored cadre deployment scam that sought to facilitate the legal looting of the Agency’s almost R500 million budget.
This suspicion was all but confirmed in a letter by the ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) convener, Tandi Mahambehlala, sent to the ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, last year where she listed the Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) preferred candidates for the NYDA board.
We are pleased that Parliament has succumbed to pressure from the DA and young people across the nation in objecting the ANC-sponsored shortlist and to restart the process from scratch.
The DA will demand a thorough public participation process in the shortlisting of the new board which must be inclusive of all young people. We will also seek an appointment process that will ensure that brilliant and talented young people across South Africa are given a fair process that prioritizes meritocracy over political connections.
The DA will also table terms and references at the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities to ensure that an independent, fair process is established going forward. And we have also requested that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Nonhlahla Ndaba, schedule an urgent meeting to discuss the state of the NYDA.
The NYDA is an entity that is supposed to empower young people with skills development and assist young entrepreneurs with funding. Yet, thanks to the ANC, the Agency has regressed into a full-blown criminal entity of the ANC, where looting has flourished under the guise of transformation, BBBEE and empowerment.
The DA will continue to keep a watchful eye on the new processes and ensure that the NYDA stops being a graduation school for cadres leaving ANC-affiliated youth politics.