The National Youth Development Agency, formed out of the merger of the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, briefed the Committee on its aim to make access to funding for youth more efficient. It also briefed the Committee on the improved features, its structure, programmes and achievements. Members asked about the structure of the new organization, whether the “shells” of the Youth Commission and Umsobomvu would remain, when integration was likely to be completed, and heard more about the Board. They also questioned the R200 million already granted by way of loans, asking that there be assurances given on the allocation and monitoring, as well as proper administration for the recovery of the loans. Further questions related to the recent strike and the reports, the number of young people appointed to the Agency, what steps were taken to ensure that recruitment came from all sectors of society, whether the rural youth were being reached, access by the disabled and the lack of mention of disability in the presentation. They also expressed concerns whether there was duplication across government departments and how lobbying could be coordinated. The Chairperson thus asked that a further presentation be given that dealt with recovery of loans, the geographical spread of youth and other potential beneficiaries, transversal issues, retention of staff and other human resource issues, the Provincial Commissions and programmes accurately addressing the mandate embedded in the new legislation. She also reminded the NYDA that the audited financial statements were required.
The Committee’s draft report on the budget vote was tabled, but Members noted that since they had not debated the budget, they could not adopt that report. Only the key principles of the strategic plan could be debated and accepted, and only a part of Programme 3 had been dealt with to date. The drafters were asked to reword the report, and Members would take a decision on it on 25 June. Members then adopted the minutes of the last meeting.
National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Briefing
The Committee Coordinator informed the meeting that the Chairperson, Ms B Thompson (ANC) had tendered an apology.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) was nominated and asked to take over as Acting Chairperson.
Mr Mbongeni Mtshali, Acting Chief Operations Officer, National Youth Development Agency, presented the organisation’s corporate plan for the 2009/2010 year. Its establishment in late 2008 came about as a result of a merger between the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, which was set up through the founding National Youth Development Agency Act (the Act), No 54 of 2008. He outlined the NYDA’s seven key performance areas that were aimed at coordinating youth efforts and funding, its achievements thus far, and its extensive programmes (see attached presentation for full details). He further informed the meeting that its structures, and especially its board and committees, had all been appointed as from 1 May 2009. The process of integrating the two former organisations into one would be completed by September 2009.
Mr Sello Nkoane, Acting Chief Financial Officer, NYDA, presented the cash flow projection for the years 2009 to 2012 (see attached presentation). He noted that the NYDA had been able to grant loans to the value of R200 million.
Ms P Maduna wanted to know more about the structure of the new organisation.
Ms D Robinson (DA) also asked for more details, as also whether the “shell company” would remain in place indefinitely or whether an alternative structure was envisaged.
Mr Mtshali stated that in effect two shells, the former National Youth Commission and the former Umsobomvu, had been left behind and one new company had emerged, but that the NYDA was steadily working towards integrating all structures, staff and board members. He emphasised that this would take a few months rather than years. On the issue of an organogram he admitted that although such information was available he had not yet perused it and therefore had not brought it to the meeting. He was, however, able to provide some information. He noted that the Board appointed by Parliament consisted of seven members. The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson were non-executive. There were a number of committees and these were all in place, and the combined staff totalled between 430 and 440 members. Within the staff component there were also a number of divisions and departments. Certain key positions, including those of the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer, were currently filled by Acting incumbents.
Ms Maduna and Ms I Ditshetelo raised questions on the amount of R200 million granted by way of loans by the NYDA. Ms Ditshetelo was concerned about not only allocation to the appropriate sector within this Committee’s portfolio, but also about monitoring after allocation. Ms Maduna asked that proper administration for the recovery of the loans be put in place.
Mr Nkoane responded that it was the Management Committee’s task to approve loans and the normal criteria for credit-worthiness was vigorously applied. Furthermore, the Management Information System (MIS) was in use to assist in the administration of loans, for example, in following up the age of the loans.
Ms Robinson needed clarity on the recent strike over pay by volunteers. This caused confusion since “volunteer” was normally a term used to describe a person who worked for no pay. She felt that such action painted a negative image for NYDA.
Mr Mtshali agreed that this matter required attention and that it had affected NYDA’s image.
Ms P Duncan (DA) enquired about the number of young people appointed to structures of the NYDA
Ms Robinson wanted an assurance that the recruitment of youth would include South Africans across all sectors of society.
Ms Ditshetelo was concerned that youth and disabled people in her constituency and province felt that access to NYDA, whether for funding or recruitment, was limited. She said there was a perception that the process to qualify was not fair and transparent.
Ms Maduna felt that disabled people were omitted from being mentioned in the presentation. The NYDA’s programmes should also focus on the disabled, and especially on disabled children. All four members expressed their concern that the questions around access for disabled people remained a huge challenge for government and society, and asked how NYDA would ensure access for all South Africans.
Mr Mtshali replied that a report, with figures on the number of disabled personnel, had been drafted, but that it was not available for the Committee at this moment. He said that the report was being complicated by the fact that a disabled status was not always disclosed. With regard to increasing access, a weakness existed in that not all sectors of communities were currently represented. The Offices of Provincial Commissions in all provinces were highly active in addressing the problem, and in addition, awareness was raised through the media and “by word of mouth”. Mr Nkoane shared the concerns about the needs to be more disability-friendly and said that close attention was being given to this matter. The NYDA was further challenged by a shortage of resources needed to address this matter.
Ms Maduna and Ms Malgas asked for clarity where rural youth were located.
Mr Mtshali was also concerned that fair access across the geographical spread of the country would require attention. The rural youth were potential beneficiaries but did not necessarily find access to NYDA.
Ms Malgas asked that this be reflected in some way in the achievements of the NYDA.
Mr Mtshali conceded that although rural youth had benefited, they had not benefited enough. Part of the challenge was the distance involved in travelling to an NYDA office. In order to minimise the problem, a relationship with municipalities had been struck up insofar as a “youth desk” had been established in those municipalities, which would then field enquiries and assist funding applications.
Ms Robinson posed the question on duplication of programmes across government departments, and how that may affect wastage of funds and resources. She asked how the lobbying of departments would be coordinated in order to cut out wastage of funds.
Mr Mtshali responded that he was completely aware of this risk. He said that the NYDA would make sure that all lobbying would occur in a coordinated way.
The Chairperson, whilst expressing her satisfaction with the responses given to the questions posed at this meeting, nonetheless asked that certain further matters still needed to be addressed. She therefore asked that the NYDA should deliver a second briefing to the Committee, in which it should deal with the recovery of loans, the geographical spread of youth and other potential beneficiaries, transversal issues such as duplication of programmes across government departments, retention of staff and other human resource issues, the Provincial Commissions and programmes accurately addressing the mandate embedded in the new legislation. She also reminded the NYDA that the audited financial statements were required. Whilst she did not doubt that these existed, the Members needed to see such a report in the next briefing.
Committee report on budget vote of the new Department
A document entitled “Vote 1: The Presidency”, prepared by the Parliamentary Research Unit, was tabled, and it was noted that this was still in draft form. The Chairperson read it out.
Ms Robinson challenged the accuracy of the wording. She said that as the Committee had not yet debated the budget, it was impossible to say that the Committee was adopting the report.
Ms Duncan said that only the key principles of the strategic plan, not its accompanying budget, could be debated and accepted. She said that the budget vote resorted under a Ministry and departments that had not yet been established, and this was to her mind another reason not to adopt the report. Furthermore, she said, the Treasury had requested that this portfolio remain under the Presidency for the 2009/2010 year.
Dr Tshabalala-Msimang pointed out that the President, in his opening address to Parliament, stated that this portfolio would fall under a new Ministry.
The Chairperson said that the Ministry would be established at a future date, and therefore tended to agree with Ms Duncan.
She also motivated that only a part of Programme 3, not the budget vote and strategic plan, had been dealt with by the Committee.
The Parliamentary Research Unit addressed the meeting and the Chairperson pointed out that only bullet points 5 to 10 on page 6 and 7 were relevant to the report. She then asked that the legal advisor be consulted, and that the Research Unit be given time until 14:00 to re-word the report so as to accurately reflect what had been discussed.
The Committee Coordinator would make the final report available by Thursday 25 June, so no final decision was taken on adoption.
Adoption of Minutes
The minutes of the last meeting were tabled.
Dr M Tshabalala-Msimang (ANC) raised the problem of using the word “formulate” incorrectly, and it was suggested by Ms Duncan that this be replaced by the word “initiate”.
Members agreed to this change and adopted the Minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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