Before the interview commenced, the Co Chairpersons briefed Members on the mitigating circumstances that led to Mr Mcebo Khumalo’s recall for an interview despite being initially disqualified based on the report received from the security screening process.
Questions fielded in the course of the interview with Mr Khumalo included: what the major challenges faced by youths were, particularly young people with disabilities in the country and programs of the NYDA that could address these challenges, taking into consideration the limited funding available to the Board; what his take was on the current NYDA Act - whether it inhibited or enhanced the work of the Board; what could be done to change the perception amongst young people that the NYDA was an extension of the African National Congress (ANC); how the NYDA could address the issue of social cohesion amongst young people and ensure the vision of unity in diversity as a nation was realised; what his views were on turning around the image of the NYDA against the background of the outcry against the NYDA and its service delivery to the youth.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, welcomed Members back from the constituency break. She thanked Members for the hard work put in at previous meetings and hoped for positive and constructive deliberations until the Committee fulfilled its mandate. As requested in previous meetings, the Committee had invited legal personnel from the Parliament Legal Office to guide it through its deliberations.
Discussion of Committee Preceding Interview
The Co Chairperson, Mr Maine, briefed Members on the progress made so far with the interviews of candidates for the National Youth Development Agency Board. Interviews for candidates were concluded on 30 May 2012. Before the interviews commenced, two candidates had been disqualified, Mr Ezra Letsoalo and Mr Mcebo Khumalo, based on the report received by the Committee from the screening process. The Co chairpersons had been advised that it was not compulsory that they met with the disqualified candidates to explain the reasons for their disqualification. However, in the interest of fairness, the Co Chairpersons along with a parliamentary team arranged to meet with both candidates. Mr Khumalo met with the team, set the record straight and explained to the team his side of the story. Mr Khumalo had not been found guilty of any offence despite the criminal record that had reflected against his name in the screening process. It appeared that the procedure at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was that where a person was charged with an offence, he automatically had a criminal record against his name and where found not guilty, the criminal record was not automatically deleted till such person applied to have it removed. Unfortunately, Mr Letsoalo remained uncooperative, despite several attempts to meet with him.
Mr M De Villers (DA) asked the Co Chairpersons if they had any written document from either Mr Khumalo or the Parliamentary team to authenticate Mr Khumalo’s explanation.
The Co Chairperson, Mr Maine, confirmed that the NPA in KwaZulu Natal had written to Parliament and confirmed that Mr Khumalo indeed had no criminal record against his name.
Mr N Bhanga (COPE) thanked the Co Chairpersons for the explanation. He expressed concern on the procedure of the NPA and stated that it was an issue which the Parliament needed to investigate thoroughly as it was unconstitutional to enter a criminal record against the name of a person who had not been found guilty and to even leave the criminal record pending, when he had been found not guilty.
Mr J Skosana (ANC) thanked the Co Chairpersons for extensively consulting on the issue in executing the mandate of the Committee. Based on the information from the Co Chairpersons, he moved that the interview with Mr Khumalo proceeded.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, stated that since there was no objection from Members on interviewing Mr Khumalo, the interview should proceed.
Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) opined that it was necessary that Mr Khumalo did not feel prejudiced in his interview and that Members endeavoured to ensure he was interviewed at the same level as other candidates who had been interviewed.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, reaffirmed that in previous engagement with Mr Khumalo, it had been explained that the delay in inviting him for interview had been to ensure the credibility and integrity of the process.
Interview with Mr Mcebo Khumalo
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, welcomed Mr Khumalo to the interview process and reiterated that the delay in the process would not in any way to prejudice him and was only meant to ensure the credibility of the process. She then invited Members to ask questions.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked Mr Khumalo to discuss the major challenges faced by youths, particularly young people with disabilities in the country. What programs of the NYDA could address these challenges, taking into consideration the limited funding available to the NYDA.
Mr Khumalo relied that some of the challenges faced by the youth of South Africa across the spectrum were unemployment, poor skills, and inadequate capacity. In the disability sector, disabled youths faced further challenges which deterred them from accessing opportunities non disabled youths accessed. In dealing with young people, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) acknowledged that there had been minimal engagement of young people with disabilities in developing them to become independent. Illiteracy was another challenge specific to young people with disabilities. The NYDA could counter these challenges with the resources at its disposal and advance young people. The Matric Rewrite program of the NYDA was a program that stood a good chance in tackling some of these challenges. Business development, business funding and inclusion of young disabled persons within the NYDA programs would also address the challenges specific to young people with disabilities.
Mr J Skosana (ANC) asked Mr Khumalo to explain from his perspective as a development practitioner, what measures he would undertake in the development of the youth to ensure they had a better life.
Mr Khumalo responded that with his experience at community, provincial and national levels it was most expedient to take the agenda of the NYDA Act to fight the challenges of unemployment and all other challenges facing young people in the country. Personal skills, experience and intellectual capacity would be deployed to advice programs in the NYDA and these programs made to align with the NYDA Act. Further, taking the concept of youth development to the grassroot level was key to ensuring youth development – exploring and engaging with youth at grassroots and fostering relationships between youths with ordinary skills and young professionals, for mentorship purposes, were all mechanisms to ensuring youth development.
Mr G Snell (ANC) asked Mr Khumalo what his take was on the current NYDA Act. Whether it inhibited or enhanced the work of the Board? He asked for specific examples
Mr Khumalo responded that the Act enhanced the work of the NYDA. The Act took into consideration the two previous institutions and blended them into one effective institution to lobby and advocate for youth programs with the government and concentrate on business development. The NYDA through the current Act was further enhanced to regulate itself and implement youth programs advocated by it and approved by government.
Mr M De Villers asked Mr Khumalo what he would contribute if appointed as a member of the Board in terms of good governance and legislation implementation to benefit the youth.
Mr Khumalo responded that in the previous term of the Board on which he served he had ensured strengthened corporate governance with codes of good practices and if reappointed, he would still ensure this. Further, applying good independent thinking and working as a team member in terms of executing the mandate of the Act were all contributions he intended to make. As regard legislation implementation to benefit the youth, it was an obligation and fiduciary duty of every board member to ensure that the legislation governing the NYDA was implemented. The board had its limits, as it played more of a governance and oversight role, while the administration played the role of implementation. A healthy working relationship between the board and the administration was therefore key to ensure implementation of the NYDA Act.
Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) noted that Mr Khumalo had been a member of the Board for three years in the previous term of the Board. He asked what Mr Khumalo thought should be the key priority areas for the NYDA if he should be reappointed to the Board for another term.
In response, Mr Khumalo stated that the key priority areas which the NYDA should focus on were:
(1) Accelerate and continue the work of the NYDA by creation of fully funded and functional offices at municipality level. The current challenges for youths in the country were at the grassroots; therefore accessibility to the NYDA at local municipality levels was paramount;
(2) Accelerate programs that affect the economic growth of the Republic. A number of young people had been awarded funding in the past, but the majority of the funding did not aid in addressing the challenges faced by young people. Empowering young people already engaged in their businesses was a better option and served as a pillar of support and encouragement;
(3) Strengthening and development of existing NYDA programs. The Matric Rewrite program was not working at the projected level - it needed to be expanded and implemented full force.
Mr N Bhanga (COPE) asked Mr Khumalo what could be done to change the perception amongst young people that the NYDA was an extension of the African National Congress (ANC).
Mr Khumalo responded that he agreed with Mr Bhanga’s observation about the perception that the NYDA was an extension of the ANC that favoured only persons sympathetic to the cause of the ANC. Every government was comprised of political organisations and each political organisation had different ideologies. Political organisations, at the helm of affairs, appointed persons in sync with their ideologies and usually did not appoint persons opposed to their ideologies or policies. The perception that the NYDA was an extension of the NYDA was just that, a perception, albeit an untrue perception. The board of the NYDA was all inclusive. It thus insulted the credibility of the board to suggest that it was an extension of the ANC. The NYDA afforded its services to all South African youths - ANC or not.
Mr Bhanga stated that from previous report of the NYDA, 42% of its allocation went to administration costs. He asked how Mr Khumalo intended to contribute to ensuring the costs of administration of the NYDA was reduced, if he was reappointed.
Mr Khumalo responded that in all fairness, the NYDA needed a fully fledged functional administration with an adequate staff complement if it was to properly execute its mandate, hence the high administration costs. On the proposed extension to municipalities, it behoved the NYDA to involve staff from other departments. However, the NYDA would have to do its best to work within its allocation from Treasury. The NYDA’s request for further funds from Treasury would do a great deal in ensuring it met its mandates, particularly with the proposed extension to municipalities and the resultant increase in staff complement.
Mr Bhanga asked how Mr Khumalo intended to contribute to ensuring that the NYDA built skilled entrepreneurs rather than laptop/briefcase entrepreneurs.
Mr Khumalo replied that the NYDA had observed the trend where the majority of the youth that had obtained funding had not actually utilized the funds to create further opportunities. It was thus necessary to come up with a plan which targeted the needs of the youth and created the much desired opportunities.
Ms S Makhubela (ANC) observed that most young people who had been provided with funding opportunities through the NYDA to run businesses had not been very successful at their proposed business ventures. She asked what could be done to address this challenge and ensure the economic involvement of young people in the mainstream economy.
Mr Khumalo responded that the solution to the challenge lay in the funding model of the NYDA. Futuristically, the NYDA needed to consider funding persons already engaged in their own businesses and seeking to develop their businesses. Thus the funding model of the NYDA would target funding entrepreneurs in practice and also allocate established mentors to them.
Ms Kubayi cautioned Mr Khumalo that his interview with Members was not in his capacity as a former Board member, but as an individual vying for an appointment on the board. She implored him to respond to questions based on this.
Ms Makhubela asked Mr Khumalo how the NYDA could address the issues of social cohesion amongst young people and ensure the vision of unity in diversity as a nation was realised.
Mr Khumalo responded that to achieve social cohesion, the points of unity must first be identified. The social challenges facing each of the races differed but economic factors and challenges cut across the divide. The answer thus lay in exposing all young people of the Republic to economic opportunities. Once the points of unity across all races had been identified, the lines of communication would naturally open.
Mr A Nyambi (ANC) remarked that from the challenges raised it was clear that legislation must be reviewed to meet the challenges or even new legislation needed to be passed. He asked Mr Khumalo what the process of unfolding new legislation was.
Mr Khumalo responded that views and dialogue generally preceded the off-take of legislation. These ideas after they had been thoroughly debated upon and researched were formulated into a proposal for the purpose of crafting legislation. Such proposal was forwarded to Parliament for consideration and after committee deliberation, Parliament usually invited stakeholder engagement on the proposed Bill. At the conclusion of stakeholder engagement, the Bill would be debated upon.
The Co Chairperson, Mr Maine, referred to Mr Khumalo’s earlier response on the need to establish NYDA offices at the grassroot level. He asked how this would develop the youth in the area.
Mr Khumalo responded that for rural development to be effective, a young person should not have to incur extra expense in transportation to an entirely different location, to access services for rural development. Rural development occurred when persons in rural areas accessed services within their rural communities. The proposal to establish NYDA offices at the grassroot level was a response to the call for rural development.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, asked Mr Khumalo what his views were on turning around the image of the NYDA against the background of the outcry against the NYDA and its service delivery to the youth.
Mr Khumalo responded that the public outcry related directly to the funding available to the NYDA. It was hoped that there would be drastic changes, but with the limited funding from Treasury, the NYDA was incapacitated to do as much as was projected. The NYDA provided services which were equivalent to its financial capacity. Efforts had been made on the part of NYDA but these efforts were almost inconsequential amidst so many challenges. For organizational change of image, it would require the government to have confidence in the NYDA; a militant NYDA board with good practices and ethics; and financial empowerment of the NYDA.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, referred to the position held by Mr Khumalo in the previous board tenure as the Development Committee Chairperson (a subcommittee of the NYDA Board). She asked what his responsibilities were in this position.
Mr Khumalo replied that his responsibilities were to monitor and evaluate the internal development of the organisation and service delivery to young people. It involved analyzing and evaluating the programs of the NYDA and advising the administration through the Board on the growth of the organization and its service delivery to young people.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, asked Mr Khumalo his perception of the process adopted by the Committee in carrying out its mandate, from call for nominations to the interview stage. She stated that the purpose of the question was to receive feedback from interviewed candidates.
Mr Khumalo responded that the process had been open, inclusive and accommodative. He lauded the procedure adopted in calls for nomination to the board and stated that it allowed for transparency.
The Co Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, invited Mr Khumalo to ask Members any question he might have.
Mr Khumalo asked Members what they perceived to be youth development or youth in their view given their experiences as Members of Parliament.
In declining to answer the question on behalf of himself and other Members, Mr Bhanga stated that it would be improper for Members to give an answer to the question posed by Mr Khumalo as answers proffered could be construed to favour one candidate over another. Members would be glad to engage further on the question posed at a summit organised for the youth.
The Chairperson, Ms Kubayi, thanked Mr Khumalo for his presence and he was excused.
The rest of the meeting was closed to the public.
Committee Minutes of 28, 29 and 30 May 2012
At the beginning of the meeting, Committee Minutes of 28, 29 and 30 May 2012 were adopted with amendments.
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