The Committee met to go through the shortlisting of nominees for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board of directors.
The Committee agreed to postpone the meeting for a second time as there were too few members due to scheduling problems.
The EFF requested that the advert be re-opened in order to address their concerns around gender, age and skills. The party further argued that it had not been made aware of the sanctioning of the advert. The Co-Chairpersons explained that the decision to advertise went through the proper processes, that the deadline for the current board was expiring soon and that this would be unfair on the existing clients. The Committee decided not to the acceed to the request but advised the EFF to engage with one of the Chairpersons further on the matter if they wished.
Postponement of Meeting
Co-Chairperson Mabe welcomed Members and noted that it was for the second time the meeting had been convened however; it seemed that since it had been shifted to the afternoon after originally being scheduled for the morning, this had resulted in the lack of attendance. Possibly the communication may have not reached all the political parties in time as such she proposed that the meeting be postponed again.
Co-Chairperson Mohapi apologised to all the Members who were in attendance. He concurred with co-Chairperson Mabe that the scheduling required better coordination and timeous notification.
Ms V Mente (EFF) was concerned that even though she had returned to Parliament at the end of October 2015 and had informed the Committee of her return and availability she had never found the communication sanctioning the advertisement (advert) for a board of directors for the NYDA. Moreover, she had only heard about the shortlisting two weeks before through communication from Committee staff. She had been shocked as the EFF had not been made aware about the advert.
Ms Mente further said there was an issue with the head of the NYDA only servicing ANC aligned youth and from no other formations. In addition, not many of the applications were from young people. As a result, she wanted to know for how long the advert had run. It was inconceivable that there could only be 29 female applicants in a total of 117 applications. Finally, she requested that the advert be re-opened as that would speak to what the purpose of the board was and the envisaged demographics, including the age category of the directors and the particular skill set that was required.
Mr N Booi (ANC) seconded the proposal for a postponement. In addition, he suggested that Ms Mente possibly be allowed an opportunity to engage co-Chairperson Mabe on some of the issues she had raised outside the meeting as some responses to her questions could very well be contained in the documentation that was before Members.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) supported Mr Booi’s inputs that co-Chairperson Mabe could fill Ms Mente in on all the issues she had raised as Ms Mente would be aware that the constitution and the NYDA Act did not allow for a possible re-opening of the advert as the current NYDA leaderships term would end in March 2016. Moreover, the speaker of Parliament had referred the matter to the Committee on 20 August 2015.
Co-Chairperson Mohapi supported Mr Booi’s suggestion that Ms Mente engage co-Chairperson Mabe and highlighted that the process of the shortlisting was guided by the provisions of the NYDA Act and parliamentary rules. It had to be realised however; that there was no guarantee that if the advert was re-opened there would be more applications. Therefore, it would be depriving those that had already applied. In his view, the process had been fair and no one had been privileged. Finally the issues that were being raised were matters particular to the National Assembly (NA) component as the National Council of Province (NCOP) component had no issues and therefore they were not for the current meeting but another platform.
Co-Chairperson Mabe enumerated the number of meetings between October and November 2015 noting that Ms Mente had not been available for all. The decision to advertise went through the Committee where there had been agreement that a subcommittee for nominations would be formed in a similar manner as when the Committee had dealt with interviews for the Public Service Commission (PSC). The NYDA Act was silent on the envisaged age of directors of its board. The advert went out on 29 November 2015 and the closing date was 15 December 2015 and later extended to allow more people to apply. The advert was in most national newspapers including the Mail and Guardian, City press and the Sowetan. As for re-opening the advert, that would not be possible as the exercise was costly. Over and above those matters, whatever else Ms Mente wanted to engage in was welcomed but it would have to be off-record.
Seeing that the Committee seemed to agree on the postponement for a later date, the meeting was adjourned.
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