National Youth Development Agency Budget & Strategic Plans 2009/10

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

20 October 2009
Chairperson: Ms B Thompson (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) briefed the Committee on its establishment, from the merger of the National Youth Commission (NYF) and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF). A brief history and background was given, and the main achievements of each of the two former institutions given. UYF had achieved a recruitment contract for the 2010 World Cup, which continued, and the NYDA was now recruiting volunteers. The NYC had also achieved the drafting of the National Youth Policy, and had acted to ensure ratification of the African Youth Charter by Parliament. The merger of the two institutions into the NYDA was virtually complete, save for the closing audit. The Board, senior management, staff and the unions, had adopted the terms and conditions for staff transfer, and all operations had been merged.

The NYDA was picking up on some of the weaknesses of the past, and trying to address them in its future plans. Rural development was an area needing more work, and there was an understanding that this would not focus on agriculture alone, but on broader initiatives, working with the new Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. There was also a need for a greater emphasis on those with disabilities, and the need for continued emphasis on women. NYDA was also now setting up projects for school learners who had not managed to pass their National Senior Certificates, and creating a second chance programme for them. Unemployment figures had increased, many of them being recent matriculants, but there was also a large number of university graduates who had certificates and qualifications, but not the skills that the marketplace required. Challenges from the past included the mismatch between resources and institutions, and NYDA warned that if there was not additional funding, then NYDA would not manage to achieve much more than the previous institutions had achieved.

Members questioned the reliance in the past on government and agreed that broader participation was required. There was some concern that NYDA should not lose its focus and should participate with institutions running programmes for women and the disabled rather than attempting to do everything itself. Members asked about the plans for rural development, what research had been done into sustainability of small businesses, the education opportunities, and what had been done to encourage volunteers. Members applauded the focus on responsible citizenship, and commented that they did not hold with destruction of property and infrastructure when people were frustrated, and also deplored the loss of moral values, family and traditional culture, which should be strongly encouraged. The NYDA was encouraged to focus on school learners and to try to establish mentorship programmes with local business, and Members enquired what links were set up with other departments, as it was important to have a stronger focus in all departments on youth development. Members also stressed that the NYDA needed to be visible and accessible, with its offices providing the right information, and that its activities should be consistent throughout the year. Members also asked about any programmes for youth in correctional centres, promotion of sports, takeover of staff and running of the entity’s programmes.

Meeting report

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA): Annual Report 2008/09 and Strategic Plans 2009
Mr Malose Kekane, Interim Chief Executive Officer, NYDA, gave the Committee an overview of the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) until their handover to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

The NYC had been established in 1996, with a mandate to drive issues around lobbying, advocacy and youth development, and the UYF was established in 2001 with a financial contribution from the fiscus, to attend to job creation and skills development. NYC dealt with policy matters and creation of an operating environment, and was intended to spearhead youth development through all spheres of government. UYF was responsible for implementation of programmes. UYF was a Section 21 company, with a board, falling under the Department of Finance, subsequently moved to the Department of Labour, whilst NYC, whose commissioners were appointed by Parliament, had fallen under the Presidency. When the NYDA was established, the two mandates were brought into one, which was to implement all programmes and at the same time to engage with issues around policy leading to advocacy.

Mr Kekane described the performance of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund for 2008/09. Its key programmes had been in skills development and transfer, the National Youth Service (NYS) programme, supporting small, medium and micro enterprises, and also provision of information to young people. Year by year, the numbers of participants in the NYS programmes had dropped, from 55 680 in 2007/08 to 34 906 in 2008/09. That was related to the amount of funding. Loans granted had grown 11.2% per year up to R21 million. The number of jobs created and/or sustained was 38 304. The number of Youth Advisory Centres dropped because of lack of funding. Targets for skills development had been set. UYF had tried to encourage young people to voluntarily mentor others, particularly those from child-headed household. There was a recruitment contract with the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee, which ended in June. The recruitment process, including screening and logistics and placement for the Confederations Cup, was managed by the UYF. The volunteer programme also extended to call centres.

Umsobomvu had focused on women, because it felt that, especially in rural areas, women were the power dynamics within communities. Hopefully, with the new Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities, some of those programmes would continue. There was a specific fund created by Umsobomvu and Old Mutual to focus on women owned enterprises. This had now come to an end but it was hoped that Old Mutual would continue to fund through the new Department of Women. NYDA would have to focus on improving the impact it had on people with disabilities.

UYF had secured R101,26 million worth of business opportunities in 2008/09, for 238 entrepreneurs. It had been criticised for lending money to micro-and small enterprises. There was an increase in the number of loans made but a reduction in the amount of money lent, as a result of much more emphasis being placed on micro enterprises. The feeling was that the social impact of micro enterprises was far higher than the SME.

Mr Kekane tabled the income statement for 2008/09. He noted that whatever monies were received were put to reserves, and the amounts spent would then be transferred and it would be accounted for in the following financial year’s statements. There were encumbered resources waiting for the money to be paid out. The income statement therefore did not give an indication of cash flow, but of the accounting transfers from one year to another. There had been a huge investment in Information Technology. Umsobomvu used to use a lot of service providers and huge expenditure was incurred. The amount of fair value adjustment was very low but in the coming year would be very high because of the economic recession.

Mr Kekane then turned to the National Youth Commission and noted that it had spearheaded the 1998 Job Summit. There were many people who had fought very hard at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) for the establishment of the UYF fund for young people, which led to the formation of Umsobomvu. The South African Youth Council ran through NYC. NYC had also achieved the drafting of the National Youth Policy, passed as a result of its lobbying and advocacy in 2003. This was very important because it very clearly set the overarching framework through which government, the private sector and civil society shifted their implementation of national youth programmes. The African Youth Charter was ratified by Parliament. South Africa played a very significant role in the African Union to ensure the negotiation of the African Youth Charter.

The financial statements 31 March 2009 showed the successful merger of the two institutions, with the only remaining outstanding item being the closure audit. Staff had concurred with the Board of the NYDA in so far as terms and conditions of service were concerned. The Board, senior management, staff and the unions had adopted the terms and conditions. Operations had been merged and the focus would be on bringing the Provincial Youth Commissions into the fold.

Mr Kekane then proceeded to describe the National Youth Development Agency. Its overarching principle was that change was not for government only, as all members of society - the private sector, civil society and government - must play a significant role. One of the weaknesses of the UYF was that it had relied solely on government.

Another of the major weaknesses in the past was insufficient emphasis on rural development. The Department for Rural Development and Land Reform was recently formed in recognition of the need for specific focus on rural development. Rural development was not just about agriculture. NYDA would work closely with the new department to ensure that programmes were initiated, with an emphasis and focus on rural development and research. The impact of migration from rural areas in search of jobs, and their unemployment rates and poverty, would be an emphasis of NYDA.

Research done into expenditure by government on youth development found that less than 3% of the national fiscus was spent on youth and youth related activities. This was broken into three categories. Category one comprised programmes that needed immediate impact. Category two related to programmes that were indirectly aimed at young people, but specifically at raising awareness, such as HIV/AIDS awareness, or 16 June 16 events. The third category was programmes that may possibly touch on young people. The performance of government and the private sector was not very different, as young people were focused on incidentally rather than intentionally. Only 3% of government was spent on direct youth-related programmes. 11% was spent on awareness. There was a very small connection between that event and the development of a young person. NYDA would want to shift that to ensure more direct focus on young people in a more direct way. More emphasis was also needed on people with disabilities, and the problems faced with transport, workstation facilities and employer attitudes. NYDA was launching two documents, one on the approach to rural development and the other on the approach to developing young people with disabilities.

Mr Kekane set out the future NYDA key performance areas. Its programmes in education and skills development did not intend to displace the role played by Department of Education (DoE) but it had spearheaded a programme, to be launched shortly, that focused on National Senior Certificate participants who had not passed, because there was no safety net for young people who failed matric or did not complete school. NYDA was trying to create a second chance programme for young people who could not find jobs because of low levels of skills, who did not have money to repeat, nor had funds or skills to start their own businesses. Unemployment figures had increased and were largely due to an increased number of labour market entrants, particularly those who had just completed matric. A second programme had to do with social cohesion. It was important to encourage participation in groups such as religious groups, and interconnection between black and white youth.

Change management process for the merger of the two previous organizations was ongoing. The two cultures were coming together. A Chief Executive Officer had been appointed and would assume duties on 1 November. All issues had been completed and NYDA was waiting for the close-out audit to be completed.

Mr Kekane said that in the past there had been a problem in matching resources for youth development. 70% of the unemployed were young people. If there was no additional funding to significantly alter the allocations that had been made to NYC and UYF, the status quo would remain. Parliament, having passed the NYDA Act, had some responsibility to ensure the success of the NYDA. The country was in a recession, but hopes and aspirations had been created in the minds of young people, to solve the problems.

Another challenge related to facilities. NYDA was working hard on deepening sports development and ensuring that sponsorship was maintained. He pointed out that the amount of money spent on the stadiums for 2010 compared unfavourably with the amount spent on sports facilities in poorer communities.

The Chairperson interjected that another challenge would be corruption.

Mr Kekane responded that he was dealing with imminent challenges. Corruption could be a possible risk, but was not something that had been experienced in the NYDA.

Mr Kekane noted that UYF had concentrated on black youth, but in future the doors were open for all young people, regardless of race, but the focus would be predominantly on those from low income households, so there would be a means test. That must be clearly communicated.

In respect of the financial statements, Mr Kekane noted that there was R1.354 million cash on hand. National Treasury had been informed of the need for funding, as NYDA was still funding from UYF and NYC, rather than its own allocations, which had a negative impact on programmes. NYDA hoped that Parliament would support its bid for larger sums of money in the context of the youth development crisis, although it was cognisant of the financial crisis.

Mr D Kekana (ANC) thanked the NYDA for its very interesting presentation. He was surprised to hear the reference to the programmes in the past having relied on government, as UYF had been encouraged to interact with business and also with civil society. Government would never have enough resources for all the social demands, and it was important that civil society and government must act alongside each other to help. In China, there was a National Chamber of Commerce, and also National Youth Chamber of Commerce, which received mentoring, financial and other support and could grow. He suggested that something similar could also be considered here, as not enough financial and mentoring resources were being tapped from business.

Mr Kekane said that South Africa was aware of the Chinese model and there was currently a delegation of twenty-two young people from Vietnam who represented 8 000 businesses established and owned by young people. NYDA was learning lessons from them. It had also met with young people running the Youth Chamber in South Africa to learn how they operated. NYDA would have to integrate coordinate and establish working models for government to implement. He noted that it all had to do with social cohesion to ensure that all were speaking with a unified voice.

Mr Kekana said that women, who by their nature protected others, were in need of protection themselves. He however pointed out that there were other institutions focusing on women, and he feared that if the NYDA were to do so too, it might lose its focus on the youth. He wondered if it would not be better for NYDA to establish a relationship with those institutions, to support programmes for women, and refer them there.

Mr Kekana noted that seven out of ten small businesses in America were successful, with many collapsing after two years. He asked what was the sustainability, how many succeeded and how many failed, in South Africa.

Mr Kekane said that there was currently research under way to look into sustainability, including the performance of SMEs. Around 40% to 50% of South African business tended to collapse. The bad debt that had to be written off was usually only 10%, and people would try to pay back. The National Credit Act had assisted in this.

Ms D Robinson (DA) was pleased to hear about plans for rural development that did not only focus on agriculture. She pointed out that many hospitals and clinics were appalling, and migration was a problem.

Mr Kekane noted that there would be a broad approach to rural development. As part of the programme, young people were making and selling fertiliser. The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were working with the Land Bank.

Ms Robinson noted that NYDA was asking for more money, but pointed out that there were other institutions with far smaller budgets. She asked what active steps NYDA was taking. It was important to foster the idea of volunteering. She said that she believed in the old work ethics, as too many people today wanted things without working for them. Education was another very important tool, and she would like to see a focus on this, as better education led to greater opportunity.

Ms Robinson liked the focus on responsible citizenship, but asked what the country was teaching its young people. She was concerned about strikes. Although she could understand that people were unhappy because service delivery was not good enough, she did not hold with destruction of infrastructure, libraries, and schools that cost so much money, especially when there was a shortage of money that would prevent rebuilding. Young people must be encouraged to have a responsible attitude, so that they could protest, but should not destroy things in so doing. She complimented the NYDA on the means test being available for all, which was a great step forward.

Mr Kekane confirmed that the NYDA was not politicised, and did not represent the ANC Youth League, as a member of the Board was from the Freedom Front, and it was committed to be all embracing as far as politics were concerned.

The Chairperson supported the idea of volunteers, but cautioned that officials should not wear fancy clothing or drive expensive cars that would offend those who had nothing.

Mr Kekane agreed with this.

Ms P Lebenya (IFP) asked what steps the NYDA had taken to ensure that rural people were included, and what other plans there were for rural development. She asked if NYDA planned on working closely also with other government departments, such as Department of Trade and Industry, and if there were plans to lobby government, and Cabinet in particular, to set aside a certain percentage to ensure that a number, perhaps a set number, of young people were employed in all departments.

Mr Kekane said that Umsobomvu used to work with twenty-three government departments and those partnerships would be sustained, particularly since almost all the funding for the NYS came from government departments. The interdepartmental committee with the NYC, which had also been sustained, was previously limited to NYC alone, and it did not make sense to have the separation. Now that everything was being combined, there was a better possibility of partnerships. He said that an approach had come from the Public Service Leadership, saying that there were about 25 000 vacancies for unemployed graduates. NYDA was focusing on that, and was running advertisements, but it must be noted that not all the vacancies were for funded posts.

Ms S Rwexana (COPE) asked for clarity whether the NYDA, falling under the Presidency, should be accounting to this Committee, because its budget was drawn from the Presidency.

Mr Kekane was not sure how to answer that question. He was not sure how the reporting functions were fixed.

Ms Rwexana thought the focus should be more on youth still at school, because they were the future business people of the country and would improve the economy of the country. It was very important that children received better education. She also noted that sport development was not happening at that level, and some schools still did not have swimming pools or playing fields, so that their pupils could not compete. She was pleased that the NYDA was reaching out to each and every South African.

Mr Kekane noted that NYDA also engaged with the Youth Development Forum  that had CEOs and Managers from various private companies, to try to tap into resources. It also wanted to pursue as “Adopt a School” programme whereby private companies would adopt schools, particularly near the mines in Kopane.

In terms of encouraging young people in education, there was a programme with Wits University and RAU, of taking students in education to Katlehong and other townships to teach there. Young people who were taught by their peers found education to be more enjoyable. In terms of sports development, it was agreed there was a need to continue to lobby for more investment in youth development. South Africa was the twentieth largest economy in the world and was the twentieth worst performing nation in the Olympics. Something was wrong, beyond the issue of resources alone.

Ms A Mda (COPE) was impressed by the presentation. She noted that there had been reference to the lack of financing so far, and asked what long-tern plans had been put in place to ensure that money paid out was ultimately refunded.

Mr Kekane noted that in respect of  long term plans for loans that were not being repaid, there were collection activities; one of the key performance areas was also to collect and there were limitations after a certain level.

Ms Mda noted that other departments such as Communications, Trade and Industry (dti) and Sport and Recreation, did offer a lot of opportunities that young people could exploit. The issue was whether they were able to access those opportunities. The Department of Communications had a campaign to dispense computers to marginalised areas, and was focused on youth both in and out of school.

Ms Mda agreed that youth development had not been the main focus of government, but felt that this was partially to do with UYF and NYC, who had not done much outside of the June celebrations, whereas youth development needed to be an all-year matter, so that young people would begin to get a sense of responsibility to open up opportunities outside of institutions. The institutions in the past had not been visible, and youth advisory centres were seldom open, nor had the information needed. The NYDA should learn from that experience, and the spirit of the current presentation seemed to suggest that, but should be maintained.

The Chairperson fully agreed with the comments on access. Members came from different provinces, but if any were asked whether they had seen developments initiated by UYF, she thought they would say that they had not. It was no use having good offices but not delivering on the ground. The NYDA had asked this Committee to lobby for it, but would also have to show results itself.

Mr Andile Lungise, Chairperson, NYDA, responded that there were 282 municipalities and each municipality had an NYDA office. There were areas of high-density population that were quite far apart and fifteen mobile offices were deployed for those areas. The offices had to respond to the aspirations of young people. The Agency, together with Vodacom, was establishing a call centre that young people could access, and was trying to close gaps on the issue of information.

Mr Kekane added that the NYDA had 283 offices. It cost about R3 million to open up an office. If the NYDA did not get sufficient resources it would end up with the same problems as Umsobomvu. NYDA  would be very happy to get extra funding, and would report every day if need be.

The Chairperson suggested that the Agency negotiate with municipalities and check with Department of Public Works, who sometimes had huge buildings that were unused.

Ms Lebenya said the issue of availability was not only about offices but was also about awareness, as young people needed to know about the Institution.

Mr Kekane agreed that there were routes to deepen awareness, including the mobile units, and also involving young people themselves in the communication, and in the outreach.

The Chairperson asked what liabilities NYDA had inherited from the previous entities. In the previous financial year the Auditor General had issued a disclaimer, and she asked what had been done about this. She also asked how it intended to achieve everything it set out to do.

Mr Kekane noted that UYF had never received a qualified audit, so it would be the operational entity for the systems that would be used in the future. If the NYDA did not manage its finances properly it would lose credibility with government. It was important to operate in a manner that would not bring the Portfolio Committee's partnership with NYDA into disrepute.

A Member was not comfortable that the NYDA had a sense of being the key leadership of youth in the country. Referring to the protests that involved violence and destruction of goods in some areas, she questioned whether NYDA had any plans to redirect that energy so it was used constructively, and asked if this was included in any of the programmes of action.

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) was interested in the reference to the second chance for matric, and asked what criteria were used to reach the students. She said that the youth were the future of the country. Many had been disappointed in UYF. She asked whether there would also be attention paid to the behaviour of the youth, etiquette, and things not related to money.

Mr Kekane noted the point about the behaviour of the protesters and said that everyone had the responsibility to divert the energy of young people in the right direction. When NYDA was in Standerton, one of the areas identified was that the municipalities had not followed procedures. Mainstreaming was one of the weak areas. Each and every office of the municipality, including the office of the Mayor, accounted to the office of the Municipal Manager, and it was the same in provinces. In provinces the Youth Directorate accounted to the office of the Head of Department, and to the Director General. Young people comprised the bulk of the population, and were therefore the hardest hit by challenges of structures of society, unemployment and under-development.

The Chairperson noted that non-delivery of services had fuelled the riots. She wondered if those rioting had been used by others.

Mr Lungise responded that the ringleaders were young people. When the NYDA called a meeting of stakeholders, the youth had raised the genuine issue of wanting a youth council. They were mobilised and focused and noted that they were raising genuine problems. The basic needs had not been met. This was the reason why a youth council was needed to adopt a youth strategy.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) was concerned about social responsibility. She asked if there were any programmes in place to support young athletes.

Mr Kekane said that the NYDA had a comprehensive programme for sports development, as much as it had for rural development and young people with disabilities, as well as the issue of facility development.

Ms Tseke asked what progress had been made on lobbying young people to be volunteers in preparation for 2010. She agreed that government was not doing enough in terms of sports infrastructure, and suggested that NYDA should also redirect youth energy in lobbying towards that.

Mr Kekane reported that, in respect of volunteers, NYDA was very active in terms of the recruitment, and all the offices of the NYDA were utilised as recruitment points. The call centre was also utilised for the process of recruitment, screening and short listing. That was followed up by training. The Agency developed a training programme together with the LOC for 2010, and had also done a review of its experiences and challenges identified from the Confederations Cup. Everybody was very happy with the performance and the attitude of the young volunteers. Many young people of all races participated.

Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) asked whether there were any programmes or plans to ensure that youth released from correctional centres stayed out of jail.

Mr Kekane said that there were two programmes for inmates. The NYDA went to prison facilities and took motivational speakers under one programme. It also had introduced a programme that was running in four centres, where trained teachers were taking classes for inmates.

Ms Petersen-Maduna suggested that a focus on women and persons with disabilities could be a duplication of what the Portfolio Committee was doing.

The Chairperson explained that the mandate of the NYDA was almost similar to that of the Portfolio Committee. She wished to understand whether its focus would be on the monitoring or on the implementation side. She asked Members and the NYDA to consider the type of relationship that the Committee should have with the NYDA and asked if, for instance, a Member from Gauteng could call NYDA to notify it of a group of youth that needed something.

Mr Kekane said that the NYDA would like Parliament to invite NYDA to its outreach programmes, so that it was visible not only on 16 June but also on oversight visits. It would like to engage with the Committee.

Mr Lungise responded that one of the issues at the level of the NYDA was to ensure that all organs of State, civil society and the private sector understood their mandate. Youth development must take place at each and every sector of society. When National and Local Government developed business plans, issues of youth development must be at the centre. The NYDA only implemented specific youth intervention programmes where it saw that young people were falling between the cracks. It monitored the Department of Education to ensure that young people were able to go to school, and had initiated the specific youth intervention programmes.

Mr Kekane added that one of the key areas was the programme that NYDA started with the Department of Defence (DoD). Before 1994, the DoD managed to train more than one million soldiers, but this had not happened since. Next year it was planned that 500 000 members of the public service must be trained in a number of skills, such as painting, plumbing, artisan work and the like, to enable it to reach the 2014 development goals. In South Africa’s own education system 60% of those who graduated from universities would be unemployed because universities were not responding to the economic needs in skills development. A limitation in South Africa was the focus on certificates and degrees, without sufficient focus also on marketable skills.

Ms Rwexana said the National Advisory Centres worked very well, and she asked for more information on them. She also questioned whether there were any programmes to transfer skills from the foreigners working in South Africa, as the fact that foreigners in this country had skills was a disadvantage to most South Africans whose skills did not compare. 

The Chairperson agreed and asked NYDA to tap into those skills.

Mr Kekane added that there was also a need for support for young people who were foreigners or refugees. When there were xenophobic attacks, both UYF and NYC voiced strong disapproval, encouraged young people not to take part, and educated communities about the role that foreign people had played in the struggle. Mr Kekane had recently returned from Zimbabwe, where the NYDA had an in-principle agreement with the Minister of Youth Empowerment and Indigenisation, and had discussed issues around land and developing young people. The NYDA looked at how it could offer its experience for Zimbabwe to set up a similar entity.

Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) asked about the transfer of staff NYDA had inherited from Umsobomvu.

Mr Kekane noted that it was realised that there had been major limitations on both UYF and NYC, and the new NYDA was trying not to make the same mistakes. Staff were transferred from the NYC and from UYF to NYDA. There remained some limitations in terms of financial resources.

Ms Ramodibe was pleased to see monitoring and evaluation mentioned in the key performance areas, as this was vital.

Ms Ramodibe noted that most youth did not live out the culture of Ubuntu, nation building, and seemed to have lost their culture. She believed that this, and issues of social cohesion, should be built into the NYDA programmes.

The meeting was adjourned.



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