National Youth Development Agency & Department of Performance Monitoring & Evaluation 2012 Strategic Plans: discussion

Standing Committee on Appropriations

02 May 2012
Chairperson: Mr E M Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee discussed the Strategic and Annual Performance Plans of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency presented on 26 April 2012. Members asked questions on the increasing use of consultants and external professional services to carry out evaluation and risk management which were core functions of the department. Questions were also asked about human resources, infrastructure and information technology capacity to run the Presidential Hotline and achieve its mandate. The Committee asked about the Department’s strategy w to turn around the performance of various government departments.

The National Youth Development Agency presented eight key programmes which included: National Youth Service and Social Cohesion; Economic Participation; Education and Skills Development; Policy, Lobby and Research Development; Governance and Administration; National Youth Fund; Sports, Recreation and Art; Health and Well Being. The goal statements, objectives and outcomes of these programmes were shown. These goal statements were cascaded into programmes, sub-programmes and their overall contribution to government outcomes. The budget allocation for the 2012/13 consisted of grant income of R376 010 000, interest income of R4 200 000 and capital repayments of R34 149 000. This amounted to total revenue of R414 359 000. Expenditure was explained: salaries to support staff R80 390 158; salaries to project staff R93 609 842; administration costs R85 802 347; overheads costs R34 363 931; project disbursements R103 946 142; special project costs R8 400 000; and capital expenses R7 846 580. This amounted to a total expenditure of R414 359 000.

Members identified the notable challenge of the National Youth Development Agency which was to improve the public perception of the agency and to improve its communication strategy. Questions were asked about the success rate of the Matric re-write project, the strategy to ensure that loans were repaid of which 90% had not been repaid, what role was the NYDA playing with regard to the R5 billion set aside by government for youth development, the benchmark the NYDA used for setting its salary scales. The comment was made that offering only 10 bursaries was grossly insufficient.

Meeting report

Introductory Remarks by Chairperson
The Chairperson welcomed delegates from the Presidency: Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The Minister and Deputy Minister had sent apologies to the Committee for their absence. The Minister had been assigned by the President to perform special duties and the Deputy Minister was out of the country. On 26 April, the DPME had presented their strategic plan and annual performance plan to the Committee. Due to time constraints, questions from the Committee had to be put on hold. This meeting was therefore scheduled to give the Committee an opportunity to engage on the presentation. 

Discussion on Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation 2012/13 Strategic Plan
Mr N Singh (IFP) said that there was quite an increase in the use of consultants for aspects such as risk management and internal audit and it was noted in the DPME presentation that the expenditure on consultancies was expected to increase from R4.7million in 2011/12 to R20 million in 2014/15 at an average annual rate of 62.1%. What was the DPME doing about capacity building within the department so as to minimize the use of consultants whose services were proving very expensive. Was the use of consultants a temporary measure or was it going to be carried forward? What was the situation about internal audits and risk management at present and for the future?

The Chairperson reminded the Committee the focus of the days’ meeting was mainly on the annual performance plan. Was the Committee happy with the budget and were there any concerns?

Mr M Swart (DA) said that in the DPME presentation, it said that the department would make its evaluations public so how was DPME planning to do this and when could the first evaluations be expected. With regards to the challenges in delivery agreements, it was clear that the main challenge was that of management. What were the steps which could be taken by a department if there was continual poor performance? In the presentation, it said that a head of a department could score high but the rest of the department could perform poorly. How was this possible?

Ms L Yengeni (ANC) said that the presentation indicated that in 2012/13, the expenditure on consultants would increase from R5.5 million to approximately R12 million. What was the reason for this increase and was it necessary? What were the implications of the outsourcing of the internal audit function of the DMPE? Did the outsourcing of the internal audit function have any implications on Operation 2014 Clean Audit?

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that the presentation stated that the information technology systems of the DPME would be in place by October 2012 but the data centre networks would be installed my March 2013. What was the relevance and the effect of the data centre networks on the IT policy of the department? What exactly were the functions of the data centre networks?

Mr Singh asked if DPME had the capacity to deal with the huge number of calls of the Presidential Hotline. Most especially, could DPME ensure the necessary follow up? This referred to the presentation noting responsiveness of the Presidential Hotline had improved from 39% in November 2009 to 80% in January 2012. Could DPME give some examples of how this responsiveness was measured? With regards to the linkages with other levels of government, was DPME registering any progress, and did the provincial governments cascade the information to the municipalities which was where most delivery took place. Generally, was the human resource capability of DPME good enough to help it achieve its goals and meet its mandate and what had to be done?

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) asked if the current centres of the Presidential Hotline were enough to carry out the function of the programme.

The Chairperson said that looking at the responsibility and mandate of DPME, and the cooperation of DPME with other entities and departments, there was the question whether the department had sufficient human resources to handle its mission. The DPME mentioned during the presentation that they were happy with the budget allocated. However, looking at the tasks which DPME had to carry out and the objectives set in the strategic plan, it was highly doubtful that DPME would deliver on the services as planned. It was the desire of the Committee to see DPME succeed but without the necessary capacity, the success of the department could not be guaranteed. For instance, DPME had the responsibility to follow up on the 12 outcomes of the government, but the Annual Performance Plan (APP) of DPME did not seem to be directed towards this follow up. It was clear that all the government departments had specific responsibilities within the 12 outcomes. How was DPME planning on following up on the performance of the departments with regards to the 12 outcomes of government? The presentation also pointed out that the data centre networks would only be set in March 2013, so how was DPME planning to carry out its duties without such major infrastructure.

The Chairperson said that DPME had so far done a lot of work as was seen during the visits made to the provinces. However, were the visits to provinces made by DPME itself or was the information received by entities reporting to the department?

The Chairperson also said that the monitoring and evaluation of DPME seemed to focus more on national and provincial departments. However, the local government level was a very important level of government especially in terms of service delivery. There were numerous service delivery protests around the nation and it was the duty of DPME to investigate the state of affairs at the local level of government and not just concentrate on the national and provincial levels. The APP of DPME did not say much about the problems and perceptions associated with local government.

Dr Sean Phillips, Director General of DPME, led the delegation from DPME which included the Acting Deputy Director General (ADDG): Monitoring and Evaluation, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Director of Communications.

Dr Phillips said that DPME had done an assessment on whether capacity should be hired internally to do regular internal audits (as instructed by the Public Finance Management Act) or use the services of consultants. For the time being, DPME decided to have one or two managers for internal audit and risk assessment. The volume of work on internal audit, however, required the services of a huge number of high level staff and the department thought it wise and more efficient to have accountancy firms do the work under the management of DPME staff. This was reviewed with the internal review committee on a continual basis but the current assessment was that this was the more cost effective option to hiring this level of skill into the department. However, as DPME was growing in size, these options were going to be constantly reviewed.

Dr Phillips said another area where the cost for consultancies was increasing was evaluations. The National Evaluation Policy Framework (NEPF) was just recently approved by Cabinet at the end of 2011 and DPME was soon to go to Cabinet for the approval of the first national evaluation plan. The department had completed one evaluation so far and this was already on the website of the department. The DPME planned to work with other departments to do about eight or nine evaluations this financial year. The NEPF was based on a detailed evaluation of similar evaluation policy frameworks in many other countries and the general principle noted was it was good to have a certain degree of independence in the evaluations. In most countries, evaluations were not carried out by government officials alone, but included the use of individuals from civil society and experts from academia. The DPME was planning to have a database of evaluators. It was therefore necessary to increase the individual component in evaluations not only to get the work done but to guarantee the quality of the evaluations. This was one of the reasons for the projected increase in the budget for consultants.

The CFO, Mr Pieter Pretorius, said that in the budget for consultants, evaluations took R5 million out of the R12 million total. Internal audits took R1.3 million and R1.6 million was budgeted once-off for the Presidential Hotline.

On the issue of the Presidential Hotline, the CFO replied that there were centres in charge of handling calls. The DPME was looking into possibilities for improving the efficiency of the system at the Hotline and not just adding more staff. This was going to be a once-off action.

Dr Phillips said that DPME was in the process of doubling the call centre operators who were working on the Presidential Hotline in shifts. This might not necessarily solve the problem because as the performance of the Hotline improves, it might attract more calls. As members of the public become aware that the Hotline was more efficient, they were going to call more.

Ms Yengeni asked why the efficient system could not be bought instead of continually using consultants to upgrade it. Was there any other method that could be used to reduce the cost of consultants? The over outsourcing of the functions of departments was the beginning of all the problems currently faced with labour brokers. 

Dr Phillips said it was more cost effective to improve the Hotline system than to but a whole new system. The upgrade of the system was to be done in collaboration with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). More money had been requested from Treasury for the improvement of this system.

The Chairperson said that DPME had their focus on spending as little as possible. The establishment of the Hotline was to make sure that the public had access to the Presidency. Expenditure on the Hotline was worthwhile because it served the purpose for which it was created. It seemed like DPME wanted to outsource as much as possible. How much was the exact amount of the expenditure on the Hotline last year and how much was the projected expenditure? The Presidency was the champion in the fight to create jobs but now the Presidency itself was not creating jobs but making excessive use of consultants.

Dr Phillips said that the main area in the use of consultants was on evaluation and internal audits. These included the use of professional services so there was not going to be the use of labour brokers. For the internal audit work, DPME would be entering into contracts with audit firms and accounting firms. The external audit committee did request DPME to a cost analysis establishing the necessary audits within the department versus the use of audit firms. The major outcome of the analysis was that as a relatively small department, it was more cost effective to use consultants for the time being than hire full time high level professionals.

Mr Singh said that DPME was set up as a department to do the actual monitoring and evaluation and not an agency to coordinate the monitoring and evaluation of government departments. The use of too many consultants was challenging the very existence of DPME. The independence in the evaluations could also be achieved with the use of high level professionals who were employed by government. Independence did not mean that the professionals must be outside government. In-house capacity had to be built. In terms of working with the Office of the Auditor General, it was important for DPME to consider building capacity with the Office of the AG to ensure that performance monitoring could also take place. This was going to reduce the use of consultants.

Mr Swart asked if DPME was actually satisfied with the work done by the consultants it was making use of. Did DPME have any system in place to monitor the performance of these consultants?

Ms Yengeni said that the money paid to consultants was definitely higher than what would be paid to internal staff. If DPME had to outsource its core function of monitoring and evaluation, then there was no reason for the existence of the department.

Mr J Gelderblom (ANC) asked if DPME could provide the Committee with a list of the international and national consultants and universities of which it was making use.

Dr Phillips replied that DPME had not and was not using any international consultants. The international element came in only when the department was drawing on international best practice. The adhering to these standards and the use of respected experts added value and credibility to the results of the evaluations. The DPME was going to provide the Committee with a list of its consultants. The DPME had advertised for local universities and individuals to give proposals for assistance with evaluation and DPME was going to create a panel to make the appropriate selections. The DPME was in the process of setting up its own evaluation unit and this was informed by the commitment to build internal capacity.

Dr Phillips said that the monitoring visits of DPME were carried out by the department’s top managers and staff. This was done in collaboration with the officials from the Offices of the Premiers.

Ms Nolwazi Gaza, Acting Deputy Director General (ADDG): Monitoring and Evaluation, said that DPME had prioritized the need to build capacity for evaluation. The DPME had formed very strong relationships with the departments while the evaluations were being done. The interaction with the other departments was informed by the need to build broader government capacity in mastery of the evaluation process. On the outcomes monitoring process, DPME was not outsourcing this function.

Dr Phillips said that in making the evaluations public, the website of DPME was going to be used as the main medium of communication to the public. Other departments were going to be encouraged to put this information on their websites.

On the challenges with regards to the implementation of the outcomes approach, Dr Phillips replied that the solving of the problems were not going to be achieved overnight but required a long process of result-oriented actions. The international experience had also shown that the process of reforming the public service was a long process.

On what could be done about the management problems, Dr Phillips replied that the general approach was to work collaboratively with ministers, departments and with Cabinet to improve performance. The improvement of delivery agreements was also critical and there was work in progress to improve the functioning of the coordinating forums which monitor the delivery agreements. The provision of briefing notes and reports was also a strategy used in improving the performance of departments.

The ADDG said to improve the quality of reporting, DPME has produced a template to assist departments with reporting. Most departments reported on activities and processes rather than the impact of these activities on society. The DPME, in collaboration with National Treasury had initiated the process of reviewing the strategic plans and APPs of departments to establish the extent to which they  were in line with the delivery agreements. Internally, DPME had set up a process whereby departments were invited to attend and participate in data forums under the monitoring and evaluation systems. This was meant to improve the quality of the data provided by these departments. Good progress had been noted by some departments such as the Department of Health which had invested a lot in the improvement of data warehousing.

Dr Phillips said that DPME was developing its own internal IT capacity. The department had previously used the Presidency’s IT system. This development involved the purchasing of hardware and the developing of the necessary software. In the meantime, DPME was able to monitor the various departments because they had systems for collecting information on delivery. Some of the departments had quite good information systems and the focus of the outcomes and reporting had led to some departments improving their data collection systems.

On the concern that the head of a department could score highly while the rest of the department performs poorly, Dr Phillips replied that DPME had been working with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to review the system for assessing individual senior management of departments so that this abnormal circumstance could be eliminated. There was a performance management and development system which was run by the DPSA which focused on the performance assessment of individual public servants. The application of this system could lead to a situation where the head of a department could score highly but in actual fact the department was not doing well. The DPME had just finished its first cycle of management performance assessments of national and provincial departments. The new proposed system linked the performance of the senior management of the departments to the overall performance of the departments so that it could no longer be possible for the head of a department to get a high score while the overall performance of the department was low.

Dr Phillips said linkages with other levels of government had improved and DPME had staff that were employed and assigned to visit and engage with provinces. The responsiveness of national and provincial departments was quite good but the key problem was at municipal level where the responsiveness levels were lower than those of national and provincial departments. There was an agreement between DPME and the provinces where the provinces committed to including municipal issues in the reports which provided an opportunity for DPME to brainstorm on some of the municipal problems.

On the question of the general HR capacity of DPME to meet its mandate, Dr Phillips replied that the department had taken a deliberate approach to avoid any duplication with other government agencies by working collaboratively with them. The DPME had partnerships with the various Offices of the Premiers, drawing on their capacity. With particular regard to the need to increase municipal monitoring, DPME in the last financial year had made an application for an increased budget to enhance municipal monitoring. The request was not approved but the request was going to be made again to enable DPME meet its objectives especially on the monitoring of municipalities.

The ADDG said that in the past financial year, there were a lot of Presidential priority programmes that focused on basic services. This involved quite a lot of work within the local government space.

On why the APP did not outline what DPME aimed to achieve on the 12 government outcomes, Dr Phillips replied  that the details were to be in the strategic plans and APPs of the coordinating departments. The DPME had been monitoring all 12 outcomes and all 12 delivery agreements. The DPME prepared briefing notes for Cabinet on all the 12 outcomes and was going to continue to do so.

The ADDG said that on a regular basis, DPME worked with departments to prepare quarterly progress report for Cabinet. The DPME played a facilitation role by assisting the departments with reporting. It also highlighted areas where there was a risk of goals and objectives not being met and requiring attention. On a yearly basis, the four quarterly progress reports per outcome were going to be used to prepare an overview of the performance across all 12 outcomes. This was going to be used to prioritize areas of intervention.

Ms Yengeni said that DPME was reporting with the use of percentages and there were clear guidelines from the National Treasury on how figures in reports should be reported on. She asked what the figures were that informed the percentages in the presentation and report.

Mr Singh said that for DPME to be successful in meeting its mandate, it needed a force to back the execution of its monitoring. It therefore needed a legislative mandate. One of the outputs was the “Results Act” which would be a good piece of legislation. However, the target of 2015 was too long. Why such a long time for the Act to be passed?

The Chairperson asked if there were any reports the Committee should have so it could efficiently exercise oversight over the department. What was the progress on the Mid-Term Review Progress Report? Were these reports just general notes or were they linked to specific outcomes? Could this reporting be measured?

Dr Phillips replied that the reason for a review in the strategic plan was DPME had received criticisms from the Auditor General - so the performance information given in the plans, reports and presentation was accurate. On the target date for the development of the Results Act, there was consultation with the State Law Advisers, all the processes were considered and the State Law Advisers said that was the projected time frame for the legislation to be passed. Consultation with other government departments is being carried out on the Results Act to ensure a high level of consensus on the intention and content of the legislation before taken to Cabinet and later Parliament. DPME could not make its reports to Cabinet publicly available.

The ADDG said that the Minister was to hold press briefings to inform the public on how the department was performing in terms of meeting its outcomes. DPME was in discussions with the Government Communications Information System (GCIS) for material that could be made accessible to the public. 

Dr Phillips replied that the delivery agreements were a mechanism for the improvement of cooperative governance. The process had not been easy but significant improvements had been registered. This however had to be done within the existing constitutional framework. On the relationship between activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts, the guidelines for the delivery agreements needed to be results based. The delivery agreement had to identify the outcome which was going to be achieved, identify the outputs that needed to be implemented to achieve the relevant outcome, the activities that must be implemented to achieve the outputs and the inputs required such as human resources. The delivery agreements had to explain the links between these activities, outputs and outcomes. The delivery agreement had also to explain the impact and results of the linkage. The difference between the present model and the previous method was the emphasis on the continual analysis of whether the activities and outputs were actually achieving the desired results.

Mr Snell appreciated the work which DPME was doing in getting departments to collaborate. The legal and structural framework within certain departments which had the problem of a concurrent framework made it very difficult to assess an individual against a performance or delivery agreement. He urged DPME to, at a later stage, brief the Committee on whether the current system could meet the challenges or whether it needed to be changed.

Dr Phillips replied that the impact of the work of DPME pointed to the need for the department to practice what it preached and to monitor and evaluate it own programmes. The department was working on getting some formal evaluation on its monitoring and management practices. Ultimately, DPME could only be viewed to be performant and successful if the overall government performance and service delivery improved.

The Chairperson emphasized that DPME needed to set the example for other departments to follow. It was necessary for the Committee to invite DPME to give an evaluation of its performance. The improvement of DPME was an ongoing process which needed to be supported by the Committee. In mapping the way forward, a new relationship was to be established between the Committee and DPME. Engagements such as workshops and interactive sessions were going to be held.

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) presentation
The Chairperson remarked that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NYDA and the Chairperson of the Board were not present. The reason for their absence was that their term of officice expired on 30 April 2012 and hence they were not in a position to make presentations on behalf of the agency. There was no legislative provision for the extension of their term of office. The challenge which presented itself was that on the 16 May, Parliament was supposed to debate on this presentation so it was imperative that the presentation from the NYDA be done even in the absence of its key officials.

Mr Gelderblom said that since other officials from the NYDA were present, the presentation could proceed.

Mr Singh agreed that the presentation should be done. He asked if the plan had been approved by the Board and would it be applicable to the new Board. If the answer was going to be in the affirmative, then it was all right to proceed with the presentation as the new board would have to utilize this strategic plan for the financial year 2012/13. It was necessary for the Committee to take a look at the legislation that had given rise to this shortcoming so as to prevent it from re-occurring. It would have been better for the old board to remain functional until a new board was in place.

The Chairperson said that the presentation should focus more on the Annual Performance Plan as it was taken from the Strategic Plan.

NYDA Strategic Plan
After explaining its vision and mission, Ms Tebogo Sejane, General Manager: Corporate Strategy for the NYDA, said the NYDA was targeted at youth aged between 14 and 35 years. Emphasis was given to young people with disabilities and the focus was tilted more towards peri-urban, semi-rural and rural areas with the prioritization of community projects. The overarching goals of the NYDA. It had eight key programmes: National Youth Service and Social Cohesion; Economic Participation; Education and Skills Development; Policy, Lobby and Research Development; Governance and Administration; National Youth Fund; Sports, Recreation and Art; and Health and Well Being. To these key programmes were attached specific goal statements which were the major objectives and outcomes of these programmes. These goal statements were cascaded into programmes, sub-programmes and the overall contribution to government outcomes.

NYDA Annual Performance Plan
She explained the nine key programmes. The first programme was economic participation. Through this programme, the NYDA aimed at facilitating and providing employment opportunities for young people. There was also the objective to enhance the participation of young people in the economy aimed at increasing job creation, entrepreneurship participation and skills development. The provision of business and finance support to young entrepreneurs were some of the objectives of the economic participation programme. The target for 2012/13 was to support 20 000 young entrepreneurs, create 500 new businesses, fund 400 young entrepreneurs, grant access to funding by young people to the worth of R30 million, create 800 jobs, support 36 projects and engage on communication campaigns and outreach activities.

The second programme focused on education and skills development. The aim was facilitating and implementing education opportunities in order to improve the quality of education attainment for youth; to facilitate technical training programmes; to facilitate and implement life and professional skill training programmes and to provide and facilitate the capacity building of youth development practitioners. The NYDA planned to increase the number of young people enrolled in the NYDA Matric Re-write programme, offer bursaries to 10 youths, get 2000 youths to attend the technical skills training programme and mobilize 12 000 youth to attend the job preparedness programme.

Under the programme of policy and research development, the NYDA had the objectives to create and produce youth development information and knowledge that informs the public sector, private sector and civil society in developing policy, planning, implementation and review of all its programmes related to government priorities. The NYDA also aimed at making youth development information and knowledge accessible and available to the public to inform policy development. It aimed to facilitate youth development work as a recognized profession, provide and facilitate capacity building of youth development practitioners, to support the communication of the integrated Youth Development Strategy and guidelines for the implementation of youth development programmes, and to support with the distribution of research and evaluation publications.

In terms of partnerships and stakeholder management, the NYDA planned to lobby stakeholders and institutions in the public, private and civil society sectors, including international donor agencies to work with, and support the work of youth development initiatives. The NYDA targeted 10 national government departments, 18 provincial government departments and 16 municipalities, lobbying to establish youth directorates and council. The NYDA also planned to organize dialogues, engagements, recognition events and fund-raising initiatives.

With regards to communications and advisory services, the NYDA had plans to increase access to career guidance information for in-school and out of school youth to assist them in making informed career choices.

The National Youth Service was aimed at providing youth with meaningful and accredited skills and activities that benefit their communities through national service and patriotism. The NYDA Social Cohesion programmes were aimed at engaging youth in activities that build their social capital, networks and strengthen the relationships that bind people and communities together. These activities were meant to propel youth to reach their personal goals and develop their full capacity. Creating of awareness amongst youth of their rights and responsibilities was also an objective of the social cohesion programmes.

The NYDA aimed at promoting youth participation in sports, arts and cultural activities to ensure there is a spirit of nation building and shared values for the country amongst all youth.

The health and well-being programme of the NYDA had the strategic objective to increase awareness of healthy lifestyles that promote good health amongst the youth, including awareness of dangers of substance abuse, unprotected sex, sexually transmitted diseases and the impact of HIV infection and AIDS. The NYDA planned to get a minimum of 4 000 young people participating in healthy lifestyle programmes.

Under the governance and administration programme, the strategic objective was to provide judicious governance technology and systems, business operations systems, human capital and financial management systems. The NYDA planned to provide administrative and operational support to service delivery, enhance performance management systems to support organizational performance, ensure that internal audit assurance and consulting activities add value to the organizations operations and improve the effectiveness of the organizations risk and control management. The NYPDA also aimed at ensuring compliance with all applicable statutes and policies and the performance indicator here was to get unqualified NYDA Audit Report.

On the National Youth Fund, the NYDA had the objective to mobilize and leverage financial contributions from third parties to implement entrepreneurship and skills development programmes. The target was to raise funds to the value of R50 million.

NYDA 2012/2013 Budget Presentation
Mr K Ramukumba, the Chief Financial Officer of the NYDA, said the revenue of the NYDA for the 2012/13 financial year comprised of grant income The budget allocation for the 2012/13 consisted of grant income of R376 010 000, interest income of R4 200 000 and capital repayments of R34 149 000. This amounted to total revenue of R414 359 000. Expenditure was explained: salaries to support staff R80 390 158; salaries to project staff R93 609 842; administration costs R85 802 347; overheads costs R34 363 931; project disbursements R103 946 142; special project costs R8 400 000; and capital expenses R7 846 580. This amounted to a total expenditure of R414 359 000.

Of the budget allocated for salaries, 90% was used to pay the NYDA staff, 8% to pay the provincial boards and 2% to pay the Board of Directors.

Of the overhead expenses, 69% was used for rentals, 12% for office utilities and cleaning, 8% for telephones, 8% for security and 3% for repairs and maintenance.

The administrative expense details were 18% for IT, 20% for communications and public relations, 15% for office consumables and administration, 10% for audits, 10% for travel and accommodation, 10% for seminars and training, 8% for research, 5% for legal, consulting and risk management and 4% for other expenses.

Mr Swart referred to the presentation which stated that the NYDA assisted 2 000 youths with the rewrite of the Matric exam. What was the success rate of the re-write? The presentation also stated that NYDA had capital repayments of R34 million. What was the strategy to ensure that loans taken were actually repaid? What was the current bad debt situation of the NYDA?

Ms Sejane replied that the success rate of the Matric re-write for the previous financial year was 50%. Of the 2 000 youth who enrolled, 1 000 of these young people passed. The NYDA was in the process of conducting an evaluation of the first Matric re-write project so as to identify the lessons to be learnt.

Mr Ramukumba replied on the repayment strategy, saying the NYDA had experienced a situation where almost 90% of the loans given out were not recovered. The NYDA had however done an assessment of the work which was done by the two former institutions and what was left to be done. It had noticed that the reason for the high rates in failure to repay the loans was not because the businesses failed but simply due to the mentality that it was government money that could be misused or misappropriated.

Mr Swart said that in the current budget of the government, R5 billion was set aside for youth development but this was not mentioned by the NYDA. Was that not an avenue for the agency to get funds for its projects?

Ms Sejane replied that the NYDA had put in an application to be considered for funding from the R5 billion.

Mr Singh asked what the NYDA was doing to change the public perception of the agency. It was very important to change the perception about the NYDA which was mainly a negative one. How many access points did the NYDA have and where were these points located? What was the benchmark the NYDA used in setting its salary scales?

On perceptions about the NYDA, Ms Sejane replied that the agency had been working on identifying the aspects which were just perceptions and myths and the aspects which were actually reality. The NYDA had now made a concerted effort to change the public perception about the agency. That is why there were now campaigns on TV and in other media. NYDA had 14 full service points which had all the services offered by the NYDA available. There were 113 access points in municipalities.

An ANC member said that the NYDA had acknowledged in its five year plan that one of the major challenges it faced was the high percentage rate of salaries. What was the NYDA doing to resolve that problem? He said that by offering only 10 bursaries, the NDYA was doing very little in that regard yet they spent a lot of money on salaries and administrative costs. That was grossly insufficient.

Ms Sejane replied that the NYDA agreed that it could definitely offer more than 10 bursaries. That was why the target for the National Youth Fund had been increased to R50 million so that the agency could improve its output. However, based on the present budget, providing more bursaries was a challenge.

Mr Gelderblom asked if it was possible for the NYDA to give the Committee a breakdown of the projects in the provinces and what was the sustainability of the projects. What was the NYDA doing to enhance technical skills amongst young people?

Ms Mashigo asked for clarity on the plans for youth councils in the municipalities and what was going to be the relationship between these councils and the national youth officers who were already in many of the municipalities. What was going to be the relationship between the NYDA and the existing youth institutions such as schools?

Ms Sejane replied that the NYDA had set up youth offices at access points where young people were able to have all the necessary and available information on youth development and counseling. The youth councils were not going to replace the youth offices. The youth council was a civil society establishment unlike the youth offices which were under the municipalities.

The Chairperson said that the main challenge which was facing the NYDA was that they were not communicating effectively with the public.

Ms Sejane said that it was necessary for Members to familiarize themselves with the NYDA Act which was the legislation that gave the agency its mandate. The NYDA was actually a merger of two institutions namely, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission. The NYDA Act and the functions of these institutions have actually made the functions of the NYDA to be quite cumbersome. Youth development was broader than just one department or agency and the responsibility thus had to be taken by the entire nation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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