In a virtual meeting, the Committee met to discuss a presentation by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) on its strategic plan, annual performance plan and budget for the 2021/22 financial year.
The NYDA provided the context to the annual performance plan (APP), which included the positive and negative opinions of the youth about their situation, a progress report on its programmes, the methodology used to develop its strategic plan, the adjustments made to the plan, success stories of beneficiaries of its programmes, the rural development strategy, support and linkages with government departments, details of its human resources structure, including its vacant and filled positions, its income for the financial year and the budget per programme.
Members were appreciative of the presentation, but raised questions specifically about persons with disabilities, donor funding and the NYDA vacancy rate. Questions about the involvement of youth in the amendment to the NYDA Act were raised, specifically around whether the entity was doing enough to make youths aware of the proposed amendments. Members felt that the NYDA should be the co-ordinating link between the different government departments and other organisations dealing with youth, by harnessing the goodwill, capacity and innovation in the country, which would put an end to the silo effect currently being experienced.
The Committee said it took its oversight role very seriously, and mentioned instances where discrepancies had been brought to light whilst carrying out this responsibility. Members raised the lack of monitoring by the NYDA as an area of concern.
Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
The Committee Secretary noted apologies from Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD), and Ms M Hlengwa (IFP).
The Chairperson said Adv Mikateko Maluleke, Director-General (DG), DWYPD, would be joining the meeting later.
NYDA Annual Performance Plan and Budget
Mr Waseem Carrim, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), thanked the Committee for giving him the opportunity to table the NYDA annual performance plan (APP) and budget for the 2021/22 financial year. He said that details of human resources and financial information would be provided by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
In terms of context, unemployment was the primary challenge faced in South Africa. It was a crisis even before Covid-19. There was 29% unemployment in the country. This increased to 36% if those who had given up looking for work were included. Youth unemployment was almost 56%. This was one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world.
Unemployment had worsened, to an extent, by the onset of the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which led to the automation of many jobs, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. While it was accepted that unemployment was not a singular challenge affecting young people, it had many socio-economic effects, in that it extended poverty, increased inequality, and created a sense of dependency for young people instead of making them independent. Unemployment affected young people’s mental health, led to violence and substance abuse, and impacted the social mobility of many people.
There had been some positive economic recovery. For example, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) had reported an over-collection of tax in Quarter 4 of 2020 and Quarter 1 of 2021, which indicated that the economy was recovering faster than expected. It had to be remembered that the country was going from a low base, which meant it would take stronger measures to build a more inclusive economy.
The social distress of relief (SDR) grant had ended in April 2021, and of the five or six million beneficiaries, about two million were young people. Phase 1 of the employment stimulus which was generated to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic had also ended in April 2021, and Phase 2 would commence in June 2021.
Based on this economic data, National Treasury had made significant cuts to expenditure, given the precarious economic situation of the country. Some of the spill-over effects of those cuts could be seen, for example, in the student protests which erupted at institutions of higher learning at the start of the financial year.
Mr Carrim said many young people faced mental health challenges due to the pandemic. He acknowledged and recognised the continuous support by the Ministry and the DWYPD, through the office of the Ministers and the DG, who continued to provide support to the NYDA.
Of the 58 million people in SA, 36% were young people between the ages of 15 and 34, with an almost equal number of males and females. The unemployment rate differed for young people aged between 15-24 and those between 25-34. What could also be seen was that 64% of the youth were urban based, 32% were rural based and about 4% were agriculturally based.
The NYDA engaged with young people on an ongoing basis and asked them about their perception of the overall direction of the country. Young people expressed positive sentiments by recognising that the quality of life in the democratic dispensation had improved. They recognised that education standards were better, that they had school and free education. They recognised that they received social housing from the government. In its 25-year review, South Africa was considered one of the global leaders in providing social housing to marginalised and vulnerable people. Many young people felt that things were getting better, and that the government was focusing on issues and trying to make changes.
There was also a high degree of negative sentiment expressed by young people, where the most important issue was often that there was no work or jobs for the unemployed. The APP was centred on youth unemployment, because that was one of the primary challenges indicated by young people. Young people felt there was too much corruption, fraud, crime, violence and poor service delivery, and that the government often made too many empty promises.
Looking at the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP), as the country recovered from Covid-19, there were multiple processes under way to improve the economic situation in the country. Within the Presidency there were three main processes under way. One was the infrastructure fund, which aimed to raise R100 bn for infrastructure development to boost employment and have a lasting infrastructure plan. Many countries around the world were using infrastructure as a mechanism to respond to Covid-19.
Operation Vulindlela was carried out between the Presidency and National Treasury, and aimed to improve the ease of doing business by improving the master plans and the industrial policy, and also to focus on improvements to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
The NYDA was heavily involved in the employment stimulus, which was additional spending within the government, to try and generate employment, particularly for young people. This was complemented by consultation with social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), working with national and provincial governments, as well as with metros and districts. The private sector gave support through private investment and inclusive growth.
Achievements in phase 1 of employment stimulus
In total, 593 076 job opportunities had been created, of which 360 000 were jobs created or retained. 60 539 livelihood support opportunities were issued. 172 527 were awarded when applications closed, and approvals were being finalised. 34 079 were opportunities with recruitment still open. 66 998 were opportunities that were still in planning, and would have been implemented by April.
A number of departments were involved within the employment stimulus, such as the Department of Basic Education (DBE); the Department of Agriculture, ad Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD); the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF); the Department of Social Development (DSD); the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC); the Department of Transport (DOT); the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI); and the Department of Health (DOH).
The DBE supported 300 000 young people as school teacher assistants. This was now the largest public employment programme in South Africa, and the fastest to reach scale. Young people in the programme were earning the national minimum wage. Initial surveys showed strong support from principals, teachers and communities. There were also partnerships with non-state sectors for the training of young people in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and curriculum support, as they transitioned out of these opportunities.
The Department of Agriculture had supported 74 626 beneficiaries, particularly small-scale farmers, with vouchers to assist them to deal with the effects of the pandemic. 2 000 young agricultural graduates had performed site visits to verify 130 000 applicants that met the minimum criteria. For the first time, there was a geo-spatial database of subsistence farmers to help track and support those small-scale farmers.
In the DSD, the main support was to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and social worker sectors. There had been applications for more than 25 000 ECD facilities for up to 125 000 beneficiaries. 140 civil society organisations supported and mobilised to support applications. The aim was to make payments before the end of the 2021 financial year, but there may be challenges.
The DEFF was providing support through the expansion of existing programmes. In many cases, this Department had transferred funds to entities. The programmes were slightly delayed, but the procurement of new service providers was now in place and money would be rolled out into the 2021/22 financial year.
In the creative arts sector, the National Arts Council was having challenges in that they had issued grants in excess of their budgetary allocation. Support was being provided to work on solutions to minimise that crisis. The National Film and Video Foundation had supported over 300 awards to this sector.
The DTIC was likely to meet its target of 8 000 jobs through the incentive for the business processing outsourcing sector. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, this remained a growing sector with a strong partnership between the DTIC and the private sector.
The DPWI had exceeded its target by appointing 1 888 young professionals to work on rural bridges and other programmes. These programmes were run by entities such as the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) so that implementation could continue into the next financial year. They were therefore likely to meet all their targets.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) would support 15 municipalities to institutionalise labour-intensive methods in the 2021/22 financial year. The DOH had met its target for enrolled nurses. The DOT was now implementing the rural roads projects in all provinces.
Strategic priorities for Phase 2
In Phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES), there would be a continual focus on public employment livelihoods and self-employment, as well as catalytic game changers. All of these would impact the Presidential youth employment intervention.
Government could not solve all the employment challenges facing South Africa, and should not try to. The PES was designed to bring South Africans together, and it was shown during the crisis that this was possible. The role of the private sector and partnerships were important to create sustainable employment. The role of civil society and other non-state actors were less well-recognised in creating employment in communities.
There was so much work to be done in South Africa, yet there were high levels of unemployment. How could this gap be bridged to solve social, environmental and economic challenges in which young people yearned to participate?
Examples of some of the projects the NYDA would be supporting during the 2021/22 financial year was the national Pathway Management Network (PMN), and broadband for households and digital skills, which was important in the context of the 4th industrial revolution and automation. There would be a specific township and rural challenge fund which would aim to be catalytic and unlock thousands of livelihood opportunities.
Importance of the PMN
The PMN was an important overarching platform and a single-entry point for young people to access government services and opportunities. This programme would be accessible through multiple channels and would be supported through different partners -- for example, the Mobi-site which was regularly updated. The Mobi-site was available on both speaker and smart phones, and importantly it was data free, which meant young people did not have to incur any data costs and could access opportunities there. There was an inbound toll-free support line and an outbound line to call and engage young people over the phone and on social media. There were social media offices across the pathways that provided assistance and on-line support. On-site support could still be provided through the Department of Employment, labour centres and the Marambi centres, and through the NYDA centres as well. This was not a NYDA specific programme, and there was collaboration that cut across the government and social partners. This broadened the access and opportunities that were able to be loaded on the platform for young people.
Methodology used to develop the NYDA strategy
Multiple sources were considered to develop the NYDA strategy, including the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, the National Youth Policy (NYP), the 25-year review, the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the priorities of government as outlined in the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Budget Speech, the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee through the Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR), as well as the Statistics SA report.
The NYDA Act, above all, guided the development of strategy, taking into account the proposed amendments to the Act, which was the existing base and guideline. International best practice was also looked at, which included the African Union (AU) youth charter, the sustainable development goals (SDGs), information emanating for the Youth 20 Summit (Y20) and the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) youth.
Consultation formed the bedrock of democracy, and therefore it was important for consultations to take place with both the executive authority and with young people. Where another government department or agency had a similar function, the NYDA would endeavour to partner with those departments instead of duplicating the function. Key partners had been identified who could assist the NYDA in strategy implementation. Targets were monitored by the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) units and were audited by internal and external auditors. The Auditor General of SA (AGSA) also expressed their view on the strategy, particularly that targets complied with SMART criteria.
The strategy was based on five pillars:
- economic development through youth entrepreneurship;
- decent employment through the jobs programme;
- social cohesion and a pathway for economic emancipation through National Youth Service;
- universal access for vulnerable youth; and
- monitoring and evaluation of the integrated youth development strategy.
Adjustments to the strategic plan
The revised framework for the strategic and APPs provided that strategic plans may be changed during the five-year period that it covered. These changes should, however, be limited to significant policy shifts or changes in the service delivery environment. These changes could also be reflected and submitted as an annexure with the APP. In view of this, the NYDA had adjusted some of its programme outcomes and performance indicators. These adjustments were based on the budget adjustments as requested by National Treasury, the Presidential Youth Employment intervention and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
A fundamental amendment had been made to the 2020-2025 strategic plan. Programme design and delivery was now included in the National Youth Service (NYS) programme, so that all delivery was centralised within one programme and implementation was focused within one programme. The targets had not been reduced. Programme three was now focused on a NYDA coordination role at the implementation level, and the programme was named Integrated Youth Development.
Linking strategic outcomes and programmes
Programme 1: Administration.
The strategic outcome was to improve the application of financial principles and procedures, and to execute the supply chain management (SCM) plan. The output indicators were an efficient and effective agency characterised by good corporate governance and ethical leadership.
The sub-programmes included quarterly management reports; a human resources workplace skills plan; a review and implementation of the ICT strategic plan; a review and implementation of the integrated communication and marketing strategy; production and approval of the NYDA strategic risk register; review of the SCM procurement plan and production of quarterly reports; a report on partnerships with public and private sectors; and partnerships with disability organisations to promote youth development.
Programme 2: Design, development and delivery.
This programme had been sub-divided into three new sub-programmes. These were economic development through youth entrepreneurship; decent employment through jobs; and National Youth Service (NYS).
Sub-programme 1: Economic development through youth entrepreneurship.
The strategic outcome was to facilitate and provide skills development opportunities to young people and to enhance their socio-economic well-being through viable business opportunities and support for young people to participate in the economy. The output indicators were the number of youth-owned enterprises supported with financial interventions, where the target increased from 1 100 to 2 000 per year for the three-year period; the number of youths supported with non-financial business development interventions, where the target increased from 20 000 to 22 000 per year; and the number of jobs created and sustained through supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises, where the target was 5 000 for each year for the 3-year period. This programme included the voucher programme, the grant programme, the training programme, market linkages, the disability strategy, the rural development programme, all the walk-in and accessibility programmes, out-reach and call centres, as well as the media platform.
Sub-programme 2: Decent employment through jobs programme.
The strategic outcome was to facilitate and provide employment opportunities geared at increasing job creation. The output indicators were participation in the national PMN to facilitate youth job placement opportunities; the number of young people capacitated with skills to enter the job market, where the target increased from 50 000 to 60 000 per year for the three-year period. This included the NYS programme, all government programmes for the NYS, the planned implementation of the Presidential Youth Service, support to the higher education youth service, private sector and government entities which were lobbied to implement the NYS, and producing the annual report on the NYS programmes.
Sub-programme 3: National Youth Service (NYS).
The strategic outcome was to facilitate and coordinate the effective and efficient implementation of the NYS programmes across all sectors of society. The output indicators were the number of organisations and departments lobbied to implement the NYS, where the target for the first year was 40, and the outer two years were each increased to 60; to produce an annual report on the NYS programme; the number of young people participating in NYS expanded to volunteer projects, with the target increasing from 10 000 to 25 000 per year over the three-year period.
Programme 3: Integrated Youth Development.
The strategic outcome was to produce research reports which influenced change in the youth sector, and to build sustainable relationships.
The sub-programmes were the number of impact programme evaluations conducted, where the target for the first year was two, and was increased to three per year for the two outer years; the development of a discussion document on youth development in the country; and to produce an annual report on the integrated youth development strategy and the number of youth status outlook reports produced, where the target was three per year for the three-year period.
The adjustment to the strategic plan was not fundamental in nature, but it had to be recognised that the revised framework for strategic plans provided that it may be amended but should be limited to revisions in policy shifts or changes in the service delivery environment. In view of this, two programmes had been merged into one. It must be recognised that Covid-19 had had an impact on the budget, and elements such as the Presidential employment intervention and the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan had to be factored in.
Changes to 2020-2025 strategic plan targets
Programme 1: Administration.
There was no change to the strategic outcome. The targets for NYDA quarterly management reports had been reduced from 19 to 16. The target of ten market linkage partnership to be established with the public and private sector had been removed from the strategic plan. The annual report on partnerships established with disability organisations to promote youth development was a new target.
Programme 2: Program Design Development and Delivery.
The target to support 6 500 youth-owned enterprises through the grant programme had been reduced to 6 100. Added to this outcome was 64 885 youths supported with non-financial business development interventions. The target for 11 500 youth supported with business consultancy services had been removed to ensure alignment with the strategic outcomes, as per the strategic plan.
The increased number of young people entering the job market had been changed from 76 250, to 166 250 young people capacitated with skills to enter the job market. The target for 92 250 young people capacitated with skills to participate in the economy had been removed. The target for the participation in the national PMN to facilitate youth job placement opportunities was a new target, and was in line with the budget adjustment. The target to create 26 000 sustainable jobs through supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises had been reduced to 20 000. The facilitation of 23 500 jobs through placements in job opportunities had been removed.
There was no change in the next Programme 2 strategic outcome -- increased coordination and implementation of NYS programmes across all sectors of society. The implementation of the NYS communication and marketing strategy had been removed. The production of four annual reports on the NYS programme was a new target, in line with the budget adjustment. The 295 partnerships coordinated to deliver NYS programmes had been increased to 296, in line with budget adjustments. 75 000 young people participating in NYS expanded volunteer projects was a new target. The NYS projects registered and implemented across all sectors of society had been removed from the strategic plan.
Programme 3: Integrated Youth Development
This had been combined with the old Programme 4. There was no change to the strategic outcome. The target for four customer surveys conducted had been removed. The 12 impact programme evaluations conducted had been revised to nine. The production of the annual report on government wide priorities target had been removed. The production of three annual reports on the integrated YDS was a new target. The three discussion documents on youth development in the country was a new target. The production of four youth status outlook reports had been increased to 11.
2020/21 Annual Performance plan
The targets were shown over the MTSF period.
Programme 1: Administration.
Four NYDA quarterly reports would be produced; the annual workplace skills plan would be reviewed and implemented; R70 million would sourced from public and private sectors to support the youth development programmes; six sector education and training authority (SETA) partnerships would be established; two partnerships would be established with technology companies aimed at improving competitiveness within the 4th Industrial Revolution; the ICT strategic plans would be reviewed and implemented, indicating at least a 50% achievement of ICT targets by the end of the financial year. The NYDA would also review and implement the integrated communication and marketing strategy; produce and approve the NYDA strategic risk register by the operations executive committee (Ops Exco); review the annual SCM procurement plan and produce quarterly reports on the implementation of the SCM plan, which would include certain groupings within SCM; produce quarterly reports on the implementation and establishment of partnerships with disability organisations to promote youth development.
Programme 2: Program Design Development and Delivery.
In terms of sub-programme 1, 1 100 youth-owned enterprises would be supported with financial interventions; 20 000 youth would be supported with non-financial business development interventions; and 5 000 jobs would be created and sustained through supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises.
In terms of sub-programme 2, there would be participation in the national PMN to facilitate youth job placement opportunities, and 50 000 young people would be capacitated with skills to enter the job market.
In terms of sub-programme 3, 40 organisations and departments would be lobbied to implement the NYS, and the annual report on the NYS programme would be produced. 10 000 young people would participate in the NYS's expanded volunteer projects programme. Should additional funds be granted through the employment stimulus, the number of young people on this programme would be increased from 10 000 to 60 000.
Programme 3: Integrated youth development.
Two impact evaluations would be conducted during the financial year; a discussion document on youth development in South Africa would be developed; the annual report on the integrated youth development strategy would be produced; and three youth status outlook reports in response to the quarterly labour force survey which was released by StatsSA would be produced.
To bring life to the targets and understand the type of programmes outlined in the APP supporting young people, Mr Carrim related success stories of three beneficiaries,
The first beneficiary story was Mr Mpande Masondo, a trainee metallurgist at Anglo Coal. He started a waste management services company and approached the NYDA for financial assistance. The NYDA assisted Mr Masondo’s company with grant funding of R60 000. The company had since created 18 permanent employment opportunities, with the potential to create more job opportunities. The NYDA also supported Mr Masondo’s company with a branding voucher of R15 400.
The second beneficiary story related to the national PMN, the jobs programme, as well as the employment stimulus. Ms Sibongile Mamba was a 23-year-old teachers' assistant. She had lost two family members while she was doing matric which had made her lose focus, but the following year she upgraded the marks of those subjects she did not do well in, and obtained her driver’s licence. She completed an electrical engineering course in 2020 and at the end of the year she applied for a DBE opportunity and started working in 2021. Her life changed after getting this opportunity, because she was now able to be independent and pay her own rent and would like to be a teacher one day.
The third beneficiary was an example of a NYS programme. The Collins Chabane School for Artisans was a legacy project of the NYS. The school trained 60 young people in plumbing and water and wastewater treatment. It was a wide-ranging programme in that it brought in the district councils, municipalities and provincial governments, as well as connecting colleges to the programme.
NYDA rural development strategy
Outreach vehicles and mobile offices were used to reach youth in the rural areas. NYDA information was placed at public libraries, and information kiosks were set up in places that young people frequent. Outreach activation was done in communities, schools and institutions of higher learning. The NYDA partnered with community media to publicise its products and services. District offices were established in far flung areas. Stake holder engagement was undertaken with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector. The NYDA had access to free Wi-Fi at their district offices and at its full-service branches. There was a toll-free call centre and PMN through the Mobi-site. The NYDA co-hosted events and campaigns with local and community organisations, churches and faith-based organisations and NGOs. It was often invited to do presentations to young people, as well as sponsorships of community-based organisations with a specific focus on rural-based initiatives.
Previously, Adv Maluleke had mentioned partnerships between the DWYPD and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), as well as the Department of Agriculture. The NYDA was supporting these departments with access and acquisition of land, land redistribution and land reform tenures.
There was the redistribution of 40% of 33 720 acquired hectares of land set aside for youth. There were 536 labour tenants accessing 900 000 hectares over the MTSF. An additional 160 600 hectares would be acquired for redistribution to youth. 90 000 hectares of land had been restituted for youth.
11 797 smallholder youth farmers were being supported. Support was provided to six youth rural enterprises, and cooperatives were supported with infrastructure projects. The percentage of youth agricultural cooperatives trained was 10%.
The NYDA wanted to attract, recruit and train 320 young people to pursue careers in the agricultural sector value chain by enrolling them into applicable programmes. An additional 6 000 youths would be placed in the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme over the MTSF. 10 000 youth would be enrolled in colleges and universities to pursue land and agricultural studies. In terms of market access and procurement legislation, the amount set aside for youth must be at least 40%.
Cannabis and hemp Industry
In September 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that South Africans could now utilise cannabis in the privacy of their homes. The economy had been sluggish due to the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore the commercialisation of the cannabis and hemp industries could have a net positive impact on the creation of new jobs.
The Cabinet took a decision in July 2019 that a national strategy to commercialise cannabis would be needed to increase economic growth, create jobs and alleviate poverty. The development of this cannabis masterplan was underpinned by the reimagined industrial strategy which would be applied to masterplans across the sectors to create a shared vision and secure reciprocal action between the government, labour and industry for the growth of these sectors. The masterplans for hemp and cannabis were led by the Department of Agriculture and the DALRRD.
The NYDA would support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and small-scale agricultural farmers in particularl, through the products and services on offer. It intended to support this specific industry during the 2021/22 financial year.
Youth with disabilities strategy
The NYDA had developed a strategy on youth with disabilities which would be implemented in the 2021/22 financial year. This strategy would create awareness amongst young persons with disabilities and link them to the products and services of the NYDA and the wider government. Disability champions would be dedicated to each branch and would be trained on disability to enable youth with disabilities to participate fully in the NYDA programmes. Mechanisms to promote economic opportunities would be developed and barriers to participation would be eliminated. Partnerships with internal and external stakeholders would be developed and maintained. A specific annual report would be produced on everything that was done during the 2021/22 financial year on the establishment of partnerships with disability organisations to promote youth development.
Support to government
The NYDA was taking an increased coordination role across implementing departments, specifically the DWYDP. The DWYDP would be providing an oversight function, and the NYDA would provide support on policy work. The NYDA would provide support on existing programmes as well as initiate new programmes to improve the pass rate of girls studying mathematics, physical science and technology. It had an inclusive relationship with partners, and provided support in various ways to many departments.
Key legislative processes
Among key legislative processes which were under way, the review of the NYDA Act was led by the youth branch in the DWYDP. The NYDA was a stakeholder in the process of the review. It had made formal submissions to the DWYDP, and would provide support in this process. The National Youth Policy (NYP) 2030 was also a document of the youth unit in the DWYDP, and had been approved and launched. The NYDA was currently finalising the integrated youth development strategy (IYDS) which would be aligned to the NDP 2030 and the NYP 2030. All stakeholders -- local, provincial and national -- were consulted, as well as the non-state sector, and the Minister had requested a specific session to give the Committee a full briefing on the IYDS before the finalisation of the document.
The objective of the NYD Act section 3 required that an IYDP and strategy must be developed. It also required the development of guidelines for the implementation of the IYDP and for recommendations to be made to the President.
The NDP and the NYP 2030 was split into two parts -- MTSF 2025 and the IYDS 2021-2025, and the IYDS 2025-2030. It had five components linked to it, namely, economic transformation, education and skills development, health, social cohesion and effective youth development machinery.
At the end of the government cycle in September, the NYDA would go back to the youth sector in October of each year to give feed-back on achievements on targets set across the five pillars.
Methodology and status of documents
The youth development landscape in SA had been determined. The 25-year review, the manifesto, the MTSF and MTEF had been reviewed. Key departments and entities directly involved with youth development had been engaged. The first draft had been published for public comment. Businesses, civil society, organised labour and youth formations had been consulted. National and the provinces had been consulted. Consultation with the legislature was outstanding, as were the consultation inputs, consolidation and publication of the final draft. Finally, the submission to Cabinet was outstanding.
NYDA human resources
The NYDA was an entity of the DWYPD within the Presidency. In the light of Covid-19, it had been reduced from five divisions to four divisions -- financial services, communication and ICT, HR and legal, and programme design and development. The NYS had been absorbed into the programme design and development division.
The NYDA's approved structure was 470, with 436 posts filled by the end of the last quarter of 2021/22. The total vacancy rate was 7%, which was reduced by migrating employees to critical posts and reducing the number of administrative posts. A two-year internship programme would be implemented in collaboration with the Public Services Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) to fill entry level posts, and so reduce the vacancy rate to under 5%
The NYDA had only five executive managers, five senior managers and 33 managers. The bulk of the organisation was focused on specialists, trainers, business development officers, front line consultants, outreach officers and office staff. The organisation was a little heavy at the bottom because all the housekeepers and security were in-sourced.
The Chairperson wanted to know if the NYDA structure slide indicated the filled or vacant posts.
Mr Carrim said that the slide represented filled posts, but undertook to update the slide to indicate filled posts as well as vacant posts. He would send the slide to the Committee Secretary for distribution to the Members.
The Chairperson requested that Mr Carrim present the filled and vacant posts on a slide, as well as indicate how the situation would be corrected, after the financial presentation.
Annual income budget 2021/22
Mr Thami Mkhwanazi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), NYDA, said that the NYDA budget process was zero-based, hence the APP priorities drove the budget.
An allocation letter had been received from National Treasury for the 2021/22 financial year of R470.962 million. This was 28% higher than the final adjusted budget of R367.802 million in the 2020/21 financial year. The 2020/2021 budget had been cut by R137 million due to Covid-19.
The Chairperson asked if the NYDA had lost funds in the 2020/2021 financial year, and then gained the again in the 2021/2022 financial year.
Mr Mkhwanazi responded that the percentage increase of 28% seemed significant, but it actually brought the NYDA back to where it should be, prior to the cut.
The Chairperson asked if there were funds available because of not filling all the programmes.
Mr Mkhwanazi responded that even with a cut budget, the NYDA had achieved all its targets.
He said that the budget included R3 million in interest income from the positive bank balances the organisation had. R33.357 million had been budgeted for donor funds which had been received from partnerships with committed donors.
It had to be noted that the Universal Access programme had a zero budget, because it had been achieved in the 2020/21 financial year. There was a significant increase in the economic participation budget and a only a slight increase in the administration budget. It had been decided that most of the budget should be allocated to the programmes and not to administration, since the administration budget was cut during Covid-19. The employee cost had increased by only 4%, which was the cost to fill the vacant posts and a slight salary increase. The salary increase still had to be negotiated with the unions.
The Chairperson asked what the negotiated salary increase was so that the Members could indicate whether they supported this increase or not.
Mr Mkhwanazi responded that 3% had been budgeted for salary increases. This increase was based on the inflation rate, and negotiations with the unions could not go above this percentage.
He then presented the budget for the 2021/22 financial year, which showed the R507.319 million budget allocation based on all the programmes.
The next slide showed how the R33 357 500 in donor funding commitments was made up. The Flemish donation of R2 million was for research and learning development for the NYS. The R8.006 million allocation from the Services Seta was for youth training and development. The R9.351 million allocation from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) was for the young patriot programme, and the R14 million allocation from the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) was for enterprise development challenges.
On the employee cost analysis per programme of R187 158 760, 56% of HR costs were allocated to economic development towards the youth development programmes; 4% was towards the NYS; 8% towards Integrated Youth Development; 5% towards jobs, and 27% towards administration.
Mr Carrim said that he had asked the HR Director to update the NYDA vacancy slide, and he would present it after he had responded to questions from the Committee Members.
Mr Carrim advised the Chairperson that Adv Mikateko Maluleke, Director-General, DWYPD, had joined the meeting.
The Chairperson extended her welcome to Adv Maluleke and enquired if the relevant officials from her Department were in the meeting to respond to questions which were not raised at the meeting the previous day.
Adv Maluleke responded in the affirmative.
The Chairperson then requested the Members to pose any questions of clarity on the presentation.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) wanted to know why there was no report on the disaggregation of beneficiaries and whether the reason was linked to the lack of funds. She said the APP did not provide insight on partnerships formed to assist persons with disabilities or on disabled organisations which promoted youth development. What was the reason for this?
The Chairperson asked Ms F Masiko (ANC) to take over the chairing of the meeting so she could fetch her spectacles.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) asked how far the implementation of the 1 000 businesses in the 100 days programme was, and how many young people had benefited to date. Of those who had benefited, how many were persons living with disabilities? Secondly, in the APP, with regard to the economic development through entrepreneurship sub-programme, were there any private sector partnerships and stakeholders who would assist in enhancing the programme? Thirdly, what sort of funding did the NYDA receive for the provincial government, the DSBD and the Presidential youth employment intervention?
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) applauded the NYDA on their approved APP, but requested that the budget reporting style should be standardised. The NYDA aimed to support 1 100 youth enterprises with financial interventions for the 2021/22 financial year -- how many of these were new, and how many were repeat beneficiaries? In programme 1, what was the status of the work place skills plan (WPSP)? In the light of the impact of Covid-19 on the programmes and budget, what was the NYDA’s proposed plan to deal with vacancies? Was it partnering with the DWYPD on programmes throughout the entire value chain? If not, why not? Lastly, what strategy was it applying to target unemployed youth with disabilities?
Mr L Mphithi (DA) felt that consultations in terms of the amendment bill had not been properly done. He said that Mr Carrim was aware that on many occasions when he visited the NYDA branches, many of the branch coordinators, teams and officials had no idea or knowledge of the amendment bill and therefore could not engage youth who came to their offices on issues pertaining to it.
He believed that the relationship between the DWYPD and the NYDA needed to improve, particularly on issues that dealt with legislation and provisions that involved young people directly. He was not convinced that there was a clear and workable relationship between the two, because if there was, the two entities would be using the capacity and footprint which the NYDA had on the ground to bring the conversation to the youth as it related to the amendment bill. Many of the discussions around the amendment bill were handled internally by some officer and the branches were not involved. He recommended to the DWYPD and the NYDA that there had to be better coordination for the consultations being done around the amendment bill. This process was being guarded to a point where young people were being excluded from the process. The amendment bill and the proposed sections on that bill had severe consequences for young people, and they needed to be involved in the discussions and give their view. It was incumbent on the DWYPD to leverage the relationship with the NYDA and make the process broader and more inclusive. More ways must be found to bring the draft amendment bill to more young people in South Africa. He requested a response on this situation.
As far as Covid-19 was concerned and where South Africa currently found itself, there were reports of a third wave. This raised concerns about the NYDA’s website and how young people would be able to apply for grants or opportunities if there was no on-line application on the website. He asked how young people would be able to access grants for their businesses or opportunities for training when they were not able to apply on-line. On the one hand, there was the 4IR and how the NYDA was championing that, but on the other hand, young people were not even able to use the NYDA website to apply on-line for opportunities. How were young people currently completing applications, if the online website was not functional? The coordinators in the NYDA branches had said that they got on-hand delivery of applications, which was not in line with what South Africa was trying to move towards. The website needed to be in accordance and in line with that vision.
The NYDA branches were not everywhere, and this was an issue which the Committee had identified many times before. It had been stated that in rural areas, the NYDA did not have a presence. There might be a satellite office, but the full-service branches did not exist in many areas.
Another issue was the status of disciplinary action, particularly in respect of the branch in Johannesburg, which closed at 12pm. Young people were deprived from receiving services from a particular branch because staff went home. This was completely unacceptable. He thanked Mr Carrim for his quick response on this issue, but reiterated that branches could not be closed during the day so that young people were unable to access services. Serious action had to be taken against officials who were not doing their work and therefore undermining young people in the process.
The Chairperson asked Mr Mphithi the name of the branch he was referring to.
Mr Mphithi said that it was the branch close to Gandhi Square in Johannesburg.
He continued by seeking clarity on the vacancy rate, and mentioned that there were only three provinces where branch managers had been appointed. This delay in the appointment of branch managers was impacting branches on the ground. A lot of the branches which were visited had spoken about the lack of direction that existed, particularly the Eastern Cape branch, where there were only two officials, and both were not in the office during the day. This hamstrung the branches, and therefore the Committee needed to understand where the NYDA was on the vacancies, and what the reasons for the delay in filling these positions were. If senior managers at a provincial level were not appointed, this resulted in young people not being able to access the branches for help.
This brought into question the functionality of branches. There were huge problems in the NYDA branches which were visited across South Africa. Something needed to be done, because it could not be the delay in the appointment of the board which was causing the branches not to function. The Committee was eager to hear why the branches were not functioning, because this meant that young people were not receiving the services that they required. The NYDA was working with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). How could the NYDA do this if computers were not working in branches or if there were no officials in the branches to assist young people? These were huge concerns which needed the urgent attention of the CEO and his team.
The NYP had already been passed and launched, but if the DWYPD and NYDA did not learn lessons from previous situations then they were going to have the same problems going forward. He had enquired from branches whether there were forums where the NYP was discussed with interested young people, and had been told that there were not. This was not necessarily the role of the NYDA, but if the DWYPD was coordinating and working with the NYDA on agreed activities, then why was the DWYPD not using the accessibility of the NYDA to its fullest by, for example, hosting the National Youth Policy discussion at the NYDA offices and agreeing on the split of the expenditure related to this event between the two? This type of collaboration would work so much better to reach young people who were not necessarily involved or represented in terms of political organisations or NGOs, etc.
This process could be used for the amendment bill or the disability rights bill. If they stopped working in silos, so much more could be achieved. What could be done now to correct the process of the amendment bill to make it more consultative? Even if the NYDA offices were used as a space where young people could meet, this would be a start. Young people did not know about the amendment bill, and to merely advertise or put the amendment bill on social media was not enough. If this was all that was being done to tick the box, saying that consultation and participation had taken place, it was not enough. When that bill goes to Parliament and is passed by Parliament, and the majority of young people say that they did not know about the bill, then the DWYPD would be looked at for not making young people aware of it. The DWYPD must do everything in its power to ensure that there was adequate consultation on this particular matter.
Lastly, when Mr Carrim spoke about the challenges being faced by young South Africans, especially around youth unemployment, the role of NYDA was to look to the future and at sectors that currently did not exist to pave the way and provide a response and give guidance and direction to this government in those areas or sectors. The NYDA needed to view the current economic space in a way that was innovative and encompassing on where they wanted South Africa to go as young people. He was excited about the hemp and the green economy and the potential that lay therein, but the approach needed to be more expansive. To merely say that it was possible and could be done was not enough. What was the actual work being done to bridge the gap and to bring young people into those spaces? What work was being done to get young people involved in the blue economy, to get them into the sea and on to the shores? How could the market linkages in the harbours be accessed, even if it was on a small scale, to show that it was possible to chart South Africa into a new direction or sector? If sectors of the past, like mining, were failing, then what sectors were being raised to replace them? This was the type of innovation that should be seen going forward in terms of youth unemployment.
When looking at the outcomes of the Youth Environment Services (YES) programme, not even close to one million jobs had been provided to young people. This meant that the programme was not working, because the private sector was not buying into the YES programme. This needed to be investigated, but maybe it was not for the NYDA to do this. What was the NYDA going to do if the YES programme was not giving the required outcomes? What was next? What was being proposed? How were market linkages for the blue and green economies being used to maximise and capitalise on sectors that could assist young people to access the work they require? Mr Carrim and his team had to expand on the various sectors. Agriculture was important, especially the work on the different sectors being branched into, but a move needed to be made into what the economy was going to look like in ten or 20 years from now. These were the proposals, targets and innovative thinking that must be seen in this APP going forward.
The APP spoke about donor funding, and Mr Carrim had referred to the relationships and partnerships that they were building with Europe. These offered great linkages and opportunities that could be investigated and opened to create skills development and opportunities for young people.
Lastly, the NYDA had a great entrepreneurship business model. He had spent a lot of time speaking to various people working for the NYDA who were passionate about youth development and empowerment. These were people who were incredibly invested in this process, especially the coordinators in the Witbank branch, who were so impressive, amazing and passionate about the NYDA. They showed great energy, and that vibe should be replicated across the branches so that young people would want to access the branches. Accessibility should also be investigated, because young people with disabilities could not access some branches -- like the Free State branch, where an escalator was required to get to the office. These were the issues that needed to be investigated, because the NYDA should be known as an inclusive development agency that valued the needs of persons with disabilities, and saw them as viable and important.
It should also be recognised that young people were also faced with the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV). The NYDA was not necessarily going to stop GBV, but could contribute to the fight by ensuring that the capacity they had on the ground could be used to fight those issues. This was where the DWYPD came in, and the relationship became important in that regard.
The Chairperson indicated that Mr Mphithi had raised most of the concerns the Committee intended to raise with the NYDA. She reiterated that the consultation process with regard to the amendment of the NYDA Act was insufficient, and the DWYPD needed to correct this. She had raised this issue with the Department at the meeting the previous day. She recalled that when they were in Mtwalo dealing with the GBV cases, there were many youth organisations which did not know about the amendment bill. Most of the youth agencies did not even get the invitation to come for consultation on the amendment bill. She requested that the DWYPD consult with all the young people of South Africa, and not only those who agreed with them. She requested research to be done on the constituencies which the young people who had been consulted, represented. She wanted the consultation process to be done correctly. She agreed with Mr Mphithi that the DWYPD must make use of the branch offices of the NYDA in all nine provinces for the consultative process on the amendment bill.
Ms Masiko said most of her issues had been covered by previous Members, but she wanted to give a word of appreciation to the NYDA for its performance under the Covid-19 conditions, as well as in the absence of a board. Even in the absence of a board, work had continued and young people had been reached via the programmes implemented by the NYDA.
The first issue she wanted to address was the adjusted target on job creation, with regard to the decent employment through the Jobs Programme. It was concerning that for the 2020-2025 period, the target had moved from 26 000 jobs created and sustained to 20 000. Why had this target decreased by 6 000, especially taking into account the concerns about youth unemployment? An increase in this target would have been preferred, to ensure a wider reach and more opportunities being created for young people to secure jobs.
The second target was the 23 500 jobs facilitated through the placement in job opportunities. Why had this target been removed completely? The NYS programme had started in 2000 and was therefore a long-standing programme with long-standing partnerships. The target was to lobby departments and organisations to implement this programme. Although there was space for growth, why must organisations and departments be lobbied continuously to implement the NYS programme? This was tantamount to begging departments and organisations to create jobs opportunities for young people and this should not be the case, especially since employment had been raised as a priority.
What sort of donor funding was the NYDA expecting to access to ensure that the NYS programme was sustainable? What was the nature of the relationship between the NYDA and the NYS initiative implemented by the various government departments?
Lastly, a lot of youth-owned businesses were affected negatively by Covid-19. She asked what the key lessons the NYDA had learnt were, and how the pandemic had impacted it. More needed to be done to assist youth-owned businesses affected by the pandemic. How and what was it doing to assist these enterprises, and was this integrated into the current APP? It would be great to see some of the interventions which young people had requested because of the Covid-19 pandemic, incorporated into the APP.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) said that the targets for people with disabilities were welcome. He felt that the NYDA still had a lot of work to do to ensure the proper inclusion of young persons with disabilities. In all the branches visited, there were no facilities for them. For instance, if a young person with a hearing disability visited a NYDA branch, they could not be assisted because there were no sign language interpreters. Nor was there any Braille equipment, so if a young person with a sight problem visited a branch they also could not be assisted. These were some of the things which the NYDA must address for disabled persons.
The Chairperson interjected and cautioned Mr Ngcobo to be realistic about some of the issues raised, because the NYDA would not be able to implement all concerns raised due to budgetary constraints. However, it was good that Members were raising these concerns so that the NYDA could plan for them in the next financial year.
Mr Ngcobo wanted to know what the purpose of the three outlook reports under the Integrated Youth Development programme was.
Ms N Sharif (DA) reiterated what Mr Ngcobo had raised, and said that she understood the Chairperson's concerns about budget availability. However, the NYDA needed to prioritise Braille and sign language, and had to provide access to people with disabilities because otherwise these issues raised would remain outstanding because of the lack of money versus the services received.
Her recommendation was that the NYDA needed to partner with blind and deaf organisations by getting people from these organisations to work in the NYDA branches. There was no point in having a NYDA that prioritised only able-bodied persons, because this went against inclusivity. She recommended that the NYDA should prioritise this issue in the 2022/23 financial year.
About seven NYDA offices had been visited in seven provinces, and there was one province left to visit. They had found in every branch visited that there was a lack of access for people with disabilities. This was unacceptable, and the NYDA needed to find a way of incorporating funding for this in their budget.
The Chairperson interjected by saying that the point raised by Ms Sharif was missed in the discussion the Committee had with the DWYPD on 4 May. She asked Adv Maluleke to note this and to have the Department prioritise this issue. She pointed out that this issue should be taken seriously by all three spheres of government, and the Committee also needed to ensure it was taken seriously. She thanked Mr Ngcobo for raising it.
Ms Sharif recommended that the DWYPD should put together a regulatory framework to look at managing access to persons with disabilities, and for the government to make access effective and efficient. She said that when she became a Member of Parliament (MP), she had enquired about having business cards printed in Braille, but this request had been considered strange.
The APP had a lack of information. The NYDA spoke of adjustments, but did not explain what the changes entailed, and this applied to programmes one, two and three. The NYDA needed to take note of this.
The NYDA needed to develop smarter targets that were specific and clearly defined, which made oversight easier. If there were no turn-around times, how could the Committee do oversight? How could the Committee do oversight and monitor targets, if disciplinary processes and irregular expenditure information, which was important, was not in the APP? These were important targets in order for oversight to happen, and without these specific targets there was nothing for the Committee to base its observations on.
She wanted to find out from the NYDA how they intended resolving the lack of capacity to fulfil their mandate, since they may not have full capacity or skills within the entity. What specific skills were required to fill the vacancies so that they were sure to hire people with the requisite skills, or else the NYDA would end up like the DWYPD, which had mostly consultants?
Ms Sharif referred to the misalignment between the DWYPD, the Presidency Youth Desk and the NYDA. There had to be synergy and collaboration between these departments so that there were no programme overlaps, particularly in respect of the sanitary dignity progamme and the YES for youth initiative programme. It would be a good idea to get the youth desk in the Presidency to speak to the Portfolio Committee and tell the Committee who they were and what their function and mandate was, because it was only the DWYPD and the NYDA who were supposed to deal with young people. The Committee therefore needed more information to make recommendations on how everyone should work together.
On 23 February, the NYDA had reported to the Committee on the cannabis and hemp industry and said that the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) was currently assisting them with ensuring that licensing was being done in order to open up the economy. Could the NYDA provide an update on how many licences had been acquired and distributed, and if it had not started, what the timeframe was?
It was very important to go out and do oversight and see what was actually happening. There were some NYDA branches which were very good, especially the branch in Middleburg. It was probably the best NYDA office which was visited, because everything was streamlined and working. Other NYDA offices were struggling. The one in the Eastern Cape was a mess, and the one in Johannesburg was closed due to load-shedding. More uniformity across the NYDA offices was required
In conclusion, since going door-to-door in her constituency, she had come across many young people who did not know about the NYDA. They did not know where it was or what services it provided. She had given all of them the address of the Johannesburg offices, and hoped Mr Carrim would ensure that the offices were open every day so that the youth could have their curriculum vitae (CVs) uploaded on to the database and enrolled for the business training and all the other services on offer. She intended to go back to those youth to find out what their experience at the NYDA office had been, and would then provide feedback.
The Chairperson asked the NYDA about the infrastructure projects, and whether they were provincial, national or presidential. Had it checked how many young people had benefited from these projects? This same question went to the DWYPD. The Committee needed to know if there was a good working relationship with the provincial government, some local municipalities and metros, and how many young people were benefiting from these big projects. Was the NYDA and DWYPD participating in youth meetings at the grassroots level?
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) commented that the structure of the APP had improved, but the budget reporting had to be standardised. There were discrepancies between the estimates of national expenditure (ENE) and the APP 2021 budget breakdown. The programmes were labeled differently on the ENE compared to the APP. An example was the administration cost which in the presentation was R131 million, while in the APP it was R141 million. The presentation referred to R77 million and the 2021 APP referred to R141 million. Why were the values different, and was there a rationale in terms of the reporting?
The Chairperson interjected and asked Ms Mgweba to include in the questions why the words "accessibility" and "excellence" had been removed.
Ms Mgweba continued that there was a high rate of unemployment in South Africa, which youth not having job opportunities. In the APP, in terms of the Economic Development Through Youth Entrepreneurship programme, were there any private sector partners to assist with enhancing the training of youth, especially women and persons with disabilities? Were those partnerships within the private sector able to mainstream young people into internships and give young people job opportunities to close the unemployment gap?
She asked whether the NYDA was able to explain how many new beneficiaries benefited from grant funding, particularly young women and persons with disabilities, and what the impact of these grants were. Could the NYDA explain if the budget presented to the Committee accounted for vacancies as well? She said there was an organisation called Deaf South Africa, and the NYDA and the DWYPD needed to form partnerships with it so they could assist at the branches.
The Chairperson supported this proposal.
Ms Sharif asked the Chairperson whether she was referring to an organisation called Disabled People of South Africa.
The Chairperson responded that she was referring to DeafSA.
Ms Shariff said that the reason she raised this was because they had gone to Limpopo to the office of the Disabled People of SA. This office, listed on the organisation's website, was a shed at the back of a lawyer’s firm. The place was completely closed down, and it turned out that the organisation had moved to an old age home and there was nobody at the office and the office was locked. Oversight could not be done to establish whether the BMW it had received from the DWYPD was being used for the purposes it was given. Their offices were closed, which was unacceptable. If there was going to be partnering with organisations and NGOs, they had to be monitored and evaluated to ensure that the resources were being adequately utilised.
The Chairperson said that organisations and institutions of higher learning were writing to her for assistance on issues of people with disabilities, and complained that no one took them seriously. She requested that the DWYPD and the NYDA contact these institutions and engage them on their concerns.
Ms Sharif continued by giving some context, and said that when they left the organisation they had tried to contact the DWYPD to enquire on the way forward and had been sent from pillar to post. Their emails and telephone calls were not responded to, and the only person who eventually responded was a Ms Tshabalala, who informed her about the systems in place in the DWYPD. The systems to report problems found whilst doing oversight was lacking in the DWYPD, and she was happy that Adv Maluleke was present in the meeting to note the issues and unresponsiveness of the disability sub-department under her purview.
The Chairperson asked Ms Sharif to provide a full report to Adv Maluleke on the issues found whilst doing oversight, and that any other issues found could be raised at the Committee.
Mr Carrim thanked the Members for the supportive and illustrative questions raised.
Responding to the updating of the slide in the presentation on the NYDA human resource structure, he said there was a total of 470 posts in the structure -- 436 posts were filled, and 34 posts were vacant. The vacancies were mainly in branches. All the regional manager posts except for one were filled. The NYDA had to move away from branch managers, because they were becoming unaffordable on the structure. There were nine provincial/regional managers, and the only one that was not yet appointed was in the North West Province, but this post should be finalised by the end of May.
On the disaggregation of funds, it should be noted that funds were disaggregated fairly between provinces. There was a slightly higher allocation for more economic activity in provinces, with a slightly lower allocation in the Northern Cape Province, because this province had a low population and quite a small level of economic activity, but generally there was a fair disaggregation of funds across all provinces.
On the production of a disability report, the NYDA was trying to get that across and especially given the comments the Committee provided over time, it would like to focus more on disability. Therefore, outside of the normal reporting cycles, it wanted to produce specific reports on all activities done for the disabled community, especially for young people with disabilities. This was the reason why this had been elevated to the level of the APP.
On funding through the 1 000 businesses initiative, funding of 42 of the 1 000 businesses (about 4%) was given to people living with disabilities. On whether private sector stakeholders would be part of the plans for the year, the NYDA was always open to partnerships with the private sector and was constantly asking for more support from it. He was speaking to McCain, a food preparation company, which had been unable to fill some of the posts in their organisation because they did not have enough skills, and they were willing to fund skills programmes for young people. In this Committee, the NYDA had reported partnerships with Coca-Cola, big banks, etc, so there was a willingness from the private sector to form partnerships. The problem was finding the legislative framework to undertake these partnerships with the NYDA and government as well.
Regarding what the NYDA expected from the provincial governments regarding the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI), specifically where it related to funding, it had a good model when it came to disbursing of funds, and almost every year the available funding exceeded the number of applications received. The NYDA did not want provincial governments to set up new funding models but to continue to support the funding model set up by the NYDA. It did not charge extra administrative costs because staff already existed, and therefore most of the money went directly to young people. The NYDA already had good relationships with various provinces, so it was just a matter of increasing those allocations as much as possible.
On the sanitary dignity programme, the NYDA did not currently support the DWYPD in the rollout of this programme, but would have a conversation with the Department and the youth desk on how to provide assistance.
The Chairperson advised Mr Carrim that the Committee would be having hearings with all the provincial government departments regarding the rollout of the sanitary packs programme.
Mr Carrim responded that he was not aware of these hearings.
The Chairperson requested Mr Carrim to have a meeting with Adv Maluleke and the Deputy Director-General in order to be briefed on the decisions taken so that the NYDA would be able to advocate on behalf of young people living with disabilities, as well as young women, to benefit from this programme. She said that most of the contracts were expiring in the 2021 financial year and some of the tenders would be advertised in the 2021 financial year for those contracts expiring early in 2022. The Committee wanted the NYDA to champion those programmes, which should benefit young people, specifically those living with disabilities. She asked him to collaborate with National Treasury and the Youth Desk in the office of the Presidency on that programme.
Mr Carrim said that he would ensure the NYDA formed part of those hearings, and would take on the advocacy role with the DWYPD.
On issue of programmes for youth with disabilities, he said that young people with disabilities had to have access to opportunities. Opportunities existed at two levels. The first level was to create an enabling environment for youth with disabilities to have access. Secondly, on every programme that the NYDA had, 7% of what they achieved had to be related to young people with disabilities. In every programme there had to be disability-responsive budgeting and implementation.
For existing versus new beneficiaries, the NYDA worked on a 90% principle, where 90% was for new beneficiaries to the grant programme, and 10% was for the refinancing of existing beneficiaries to assist them in scaling up their enterprises.
On making legislative processes more available to young people, specifically regarding the amendment bill and to support the DWYPD, the NYDA would make big posters available in all its centres so that young people could feel more involved in the process. He admitted that the NYDA could have done more in this respect. He indicated that when he wrote to his staff members, he briefed them on issues pertaining to legislation, but admitted that he could have done more specifically relating to the amendment bill.
The Department had set up a WhatsApp chat line to reach young people, which was very innovative, but more innovative ways would be looked at to partner with the DWYPD. Participation in democracy was not only limited to the election, but all the things that happened in between were very important, and the NYDA wanted to include young people as far as possible.
With regard to online applications, a semi-online system was set up during Covid-19. Most of the applications were done remotely through e-mail applications, but the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) system would be going live towards the end of May, and from then onwards, everybody would be able to do full online applications.
On the incident in the Johannesburg branch, he said that all NYDA branches and centres had to follow protocols, especially when offices had to close, and offices could close for a variety of reasons. The centre or branch would inform head office if a situation arose. Head office decided whether to close or keep a branch open, based on the facts presented. Stakeholders were then informed, either by posting a notification on the door of the office, or through social media and website notifications, why and how long the office would be closed.
A full investigation had been undertaken of the incident at the Johannesburg office, because it had been closed without informing the head office. The branch was closed due to a sub-station problem which started at 11h00. The building had back-up generators, but it provided power for only about two hours. Staff had remained at the office till about 13h00, and the back-up generator could not provide additional power until the official closing time of the office. The building manager advised all the tenants in the building that it would not be safe to remain in the building with no power. The centre coordinator took a decision to close the office without advising head office. It was incorrect for the coordinator not to advise the head office of the closing of the office, and therefore suspension was warranted. The investigation also highlighted that the sub-station problem was resolved only by 16h00 that afternoon. He apologised again about the lack of communication on the part of the Johannesburg NYDA office. A disciplinary hearing had been instituted, at which the employee pleaded guilty to the charges. It must be noted that the employee had recently lost her husband and a decision was taken to issue a final written warning valid for six months. He felt that it was necessary to provide context to what the investigation revealed had happened on that day.
He said he would provide a list all the NYDA branches and centres at the next engagement with the Committee, as well as all the infrastructure issues related to each of them. He wanted the Committee to be aware that the budget of R500 million was not sufficient to address all the issues of young people. The cut of about R120 million in the 2020 financial year had caused infrastructure issues to suffer. He assured the Committee that the NYDA was in the process of addressing the infrastructure issues, and in his response to this matter he would speak about funding which would be coming to the NYDA which would assist in addressing this issue.
He had focused on the hemp industry because it had been spoken about in the Committee on many occasions, and he felt it was important to provide context to the Members. The President and Cabinet were very focused on re-industrialisation. There was a masterplan for hemp, as well as other important sectors like the automotive industry, the agricultural industry, the blue economy, etc. He was happy to assist Members with questions or information on these masterplans, or to ask his colleagues in government to do presentations to the Committee regarding them.
He was in regular contact with the CEO of the YES programme, who was adamant that she did not commit to the one million target, and that she was misinterpreted. In light of almost no government funding, the numbers which the YES programme had achieved should be respected. The Committee, being the overarching body for youth, had the right to request additional information and in this regard he could ask the CEO of YES to do a presentation to the Committee on the challenges faced by the programme. The Committee could then provide ways in which to support it.
He referred to the decreases in the APP, and reminded Members that Covid-19 was a huge shock to the economy. That shock necessitated cuts to the budget, and during his presentation he had expressed the view that the cut in the higher education budget meant that the DBE could not hire new teachers. Some countries had chosen to go down the route of economic expansion. This was what was happening in the United States, where the new President was spending a lot of money to inject a stimulus into the economy to try to absorb the shock Covid-19 had created. South Africa had spent money during Covid-19, but going forward it was going into a recession, which meant it was spending less money. This seemed to be the economic path the country was going down, and Members and Parliamentarians in general would engage the Minister of Finance on the economic policy path the country had taken.
The NYDA had tried to cut as little as possible from its targets, but it had been affected. However, the outlook was not completely negative, because there was an R11 million stimulus to the economy in the National Treasury budget particularly for youth employment. Within this stimulus there were two programmes, and the NYDS, through the NYDA, had made submissions for two things. One was a large-scale expansion of the NYS programme for 50 000 paid youth participants. This, therefore, addressed the question about why further lobbying was required for the NYS programme. He was meeting National Treasury that afternoon to pitch the final version of that proposal to them, and was expecting a response later that month.
The second element of the PYEI was additional support to the youth entrepreneurship programme. The NYDA was of the opinion that there was demand for another R350 million, which had been requested from National Treasury. If this funding came through, then the targets would once again increase and could also assist with funding the infrastructure issues.
On the impact on youth enterprises, the NYDA was trying as far as possible to improve the eco-system of youth by looking at where young people were failing. The one issue the NYDA had picked up on was that most youth enterprise failure happened between one and three years of being operational. That was where the greatest chance to grow was, but also where the most failures took place. Specific interventions were therefore being designed to counteract this. This was commonly referred to as the "valley of death" period, and this was where the European Union was assisting the NYDA by providing technical and non-financial support to ensure that youth businesses were succeeding in order to support young people in SA.
It was expensive to hire sign language interpreters for every office on a full-time basis. The NYDA addressed this problem by working with the disabled organisations in every province, and establishing from them the number of young people who could possibly be interested in the NYDA products and services, and to have information sessions with those young people to assess their needs. The NYDA would then find a cost-effective way to cater to the needs of these young people, even if it meant getting sign language interpreters, having documents printed in Braille or getting a specific venue. This was the model the NYDA was currently working with.
The youth outlook report had been designed as a mechanism to respond to the needs coming out of the quarterly labour reports. StatsSA would present the numbers, and as the primary youth organisation, the NYDA would respond. There had to be meaningful numbers.
The NYDA was trying to be more inclusive, especially regarding disabled youth. He agreed with Ms Sharif that more had to be done on disability and being more inclusive. The NYDA would build more structural relationships with the DWYPD.
He noted the lack of detail regarding irregular expenditure and information about disciplinary cases but said that it should be noted that irregular expenditure was disclosed in the quarterly reports under the quarterly reports target. Turnaround times in disciplinary cases were more at an operational level, but if the Committee was of the view this should be escalated to the APP level, he would be happy to oblige. He would also be happy to report the operational targets on a quarterly basis in respect of the matters Ms Sharif had mentioned in the meeting that day.
He addressed the issue regarding the lack of capacity to fulfil mandates. South Africa was in a financial hole, and he knew that he would not get funding for additional posts in the NYDA structure. It therefore had to think innovatively by making use of technology, rather than continuously hiring more and more people. Where there were small gaps, the Presidency and the DWYPD were providing incredible support to the NYDA, and a new era of youth development could be entered if that support could be maintained.
The NYDA did not make use of consultants. All work was done within the NYDA, and they had very little or no reliance on consultants.
On the misalignment within the NYDA, DWYPD and the Presidency, the youth branch was situated in the DWYPD and there was no youth desk in the Presidency. There was, however, a project management office in the Presidency which dealt with the ease of doing business, the PYEI and infrastructure, as well as Project Vulindlela. The DWYPD, the NYDA and the colleagues in the Presidency had a close working relationship, but if the Committee at any stage wanted those colleagues do a presentation about their work, it would be easy for the NYDA to convene such an engagement.
He told Ms Sharif that he was looking forward to her constituencies visiting the offices of the NYDA, but he wanted to point out that for those who could not afford to visit the NYDA offices, they could make use of its online platform,. They did not have to drop off their CV’s anymore -- they could do everything online and would have an online link not only to the NYDA offices, but to other government services as well.
On the Chairpersons’ question about infrastructure, he said he would have a conversation with the head of infrastructure, and as he had presented to the Committee that day on what was achieved by the different departments, he would also try to present what the infrastructure office was trying to achieve specifically in relation to young people, young women and people with disabilities.
He undertook to engage DeafSA, as the Chairperson requested, in order to understand how the NYDA could support them and how they could support the disability strategy of the government.
He felt that Mr Mkhwanazi was better equipped to respond to the question on the standardisation of the budget information. The difference in reporting could be because National Treasury reported expenditure inclusive of employee costs, whereas the NYDA reported to the Committee exclusive of employee costs. Sometimes budgets changed as new donor money became available and the APP could not be adjusted retrospectively, but the NYDA preferred to give the Committee a better sense of when donor funds became available as they became available.
Regarding the target to assist 1 000 businesses, the NYDA had told National Treasury that they could assist another 1 000 businesses without employing more people, and this was the conversation they would be having with National Treasury that afternoon.
He heard Ms Mgweba’s concern about unemployment, and everything he had spoken about that day centered on youth employment, and the quarterly report would give comprehensive feedback on everything the NYDA was doing about it. He said there was scope and willingness to engage young people and to make the economy work for them.
Mr Mkhwanazi said the ENE were estimates which were submitted in January, before the finalisation of the APP and the budgeting process, which took place at the end of February. Therefore, whatever was submitted in January was based on draft figures, and Ms Mgweba would therefore be unable to compare those figures with the final budget figures. In the draft APP, there was a budget for Universal Access, but this programme was subsequently completed and therefore the final APP did not have a budget for Universal Access.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Mkhwanazi and asked the Members if they had any further questions of clarity.
Mr Mphithi indicated that he had two further points he wanted to raise. Firstly, he wanted the Committee to recommend that the CEO of the YES programme do a presentation to the Committee, so that it could be made aware of the programme and its successes. He and Mr Carrim differed on the success of the programme, and he felt it was important to engage and obtain more information.
Secondly, he felt that his question regarding the NYDA website and how young people submitted grant applications had not been addressed. He admitted that he could have missed Mr Carrim’s response, but his question was specifically on how the online applications would be handled, because currently the site did not make provision for online applications. He wanted to understand how the process currently worked, and how the website worked.
The Chairperson indicated that it was important for the NYDA website to be fixed, and asked Mr Carrim why the NYDA did not work with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) on this problem.
Mr Carrim responded that he agreed with the Chairperson, and that currently applications could be submitted online. He confirmed that Mr Mphithi was correct that during Covid-19, applications were received via e-mail, but the ERP system was going online at the end of May and it would be easy for young people to then submit applications on the ERP system. He undertook to do a presentation on the system to the Committee to show the Members how the system worked when he presented the first quarter results.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Carrim for the presentation, and for working with Adv Maluleke when the DBE had appointed the teachers’ assistants, by ensuring that those young people got paid. She reiterated that the teachers’ assistant posts should be rolled out to all schools in all the provinces, and not only one province. She thanked him for ensuring that the teachers’ assistant programme continued until June, because some of the teachers' assistants had told her they had been called back to the schools to continue working until June.
However, she had also received complaints from teachers' assistants. They had complained that the teachers were not treating them with respect and made them feel as if they should not be at the schools, which had resulted in some of the assistants leaving the programme. She wanted the teachers' assistants to get clear job descriptions, indicating what the young people were supposed to do at the schools, which would ensure that they were treated with respect.
Another challenge was that some of the former model C schools refused to implement or participate in the programme, which resulted in fewer youths being appointed. These challenges could have been avoided if the NYDA had developed a mechanism to monitor the young people at the schools where they were appointed as teachers’ assistants, instead of leaving them to their own devices.
Mr Mphithi indicated that his question on the amendment bill had not been responded to by the NYDA.
The Chairperson noted Mr Mphithi’s concern, but requested that Adv Maluleke first respond to questions raised by the Members.
Adv Maluleke said that there were a few questions asked by Members that were directly linked to the DWYPD. She said Ms Shoki Tshabalala, Deputy Director-General, would respond to the question on the sanity dignity programme, as well as the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) programme and the office where the Committee Members had experienced a problem. Dr Bernice Hlagala, Acting Chief Director: Youth, would respond on all other questions relating to youth and consultations.
On the suggestion the Chairperson made about DeafSA, Adv Maluleke confirmed the Department worked with the organisation, but could have missed an opportunity where the amendment bill was concerned. She had spoken with the director in the disability unit, because that unit had a strong link with those organisations through the Presidential working group on disability. There were 30 organisations that formed part of this working group, and even though the Law Reform Commission worked on the discussion document on the rights of persons with disabilities, the DWYPD had done the consultations and brought all the organisations together. The DWYPD was also working with DeafSA on the sign language bill.
On creating a framework for persons with disabilities and economic empowerment, it had been agreed that a fund would be established, but guidelines on how the funds would be spent had to be developed. This process had already started.
Ms Tshabalala responded on the issue of the economic value chain, and said that the Department would ensure that all the linkages were in place. She suggested that the NYDA should nominate someone to work on the national task team, of which all the provinces were a part. All the previous sessions of this task team were on YouTube, and she tried to send the link to the NYDA, which should listen to these sessions and get to understand the issues and challenges per province before the briefing session between the Youth Unit and the NYDA, as suggested by the Chairperson.
She was in contact with the provincial Department of Social Development office about the concern about the DPSA office being closed when the Committee Members visited. She had been informed that the DPSA was an NGO that was funded by the Department of Social Development. They had a small office consisting of the Director of the DPSA and another staff member. The Director was herself disabled, and when she went on outreach programmes, the staff member would have to drive her, which meant that the office was not manned. She subsequently told them that there should always be someone in the office, even if they got a volunteer to man the office. The Department of Social Development undertook to ensure that the suggested changes were implemented.
The Chairperson asked Ms Tshabalala to respond to the question raised by Ms Sharif about the NGO which had been given a vehicle.
Ms Tshabalala said that she had joined the meeting late because she was in cluster meeting and was therefore not aware of this concern, and had been requested to respond only about the DPSA’s offices being closed. However, if there were other issues about the DPSA, Ms Sharif could inform her and she would ensure that it was resolved.
Adv Maluleke intervened, and said that Ms Tshabalala was responding to the issue raised by Ms Shariff.
The Chairperson then requested Ms Sharif to report on the car issue again.
Ms Sharif explained that as part of their oversight role as Committee Members, they had attempted to go to the five places where the BMWs were located. The first place visited was Mzamo, in KwaZulu-Natal, where it was found that the vehicle was collecting dust in a garage and with very little mileage on the clock. After this was reported, the next week the five vehicles were licensed and could then be used. The second NGO was in Mpumalanga, and the vehicle was used the entire time but without a valid licence. Because the vehicles were electric cars, the NGO complained that their electricity bill had doubled because it took three days to fully charge the vehicle, which gave them about 350 kilometres usage of the vehicle. When asked why the vehicle was not taken to BMW to charge it there, they were told that the closest BMW branch was too far away to take the vehicle there to be charged. They could not get access to the third BMW, because there was no one at the office, and they still had to visit two more places.
Ms Tshabalala explained that the civil society organisations had been made aware that they were electric vehicles, and that they could travel only in the range of 250 kilometres before they had to be recharged. This was communicated to the organisations before receipt of the vehicles, and that they should ensure the vehicles were sufficiently charged to get them to either a BMW dealership to recharge, or they had cables to recharge them themselves. They were told that the vehicles had to be plugged directly into an electricity outlet for the vehicles to be recharged, and that a cable lead could not be used because it would damage the vehicle. All these conditions were explained to the organisations, in consultation with the DSD.
The shelter to which Ms Sharif referred was in Middleburg, which needed a vehicle, and they were appreciative that they had been considered as a beneficiary. The closest BMW dealership to the shelter was in Witbank, which was too far from the shelter. The fact that they had to use their own electricity to recharge the vehicle was unfortunate, and the DSD would investigate whether the shelter could include this cost on their business plan to get it recouped. A special session would be held with all the departments to assess what their challenges were, and to assist by making recommendations in order to take the process forward. The DSD had never received a donation of electric vehicles before, and therefore this donation would have certain challenges, but the Department was committed to resolve the issues as they arose.
The Chairperson pointed out that the local government elections were imminent, and wanted to know if the DWYPD and the NYDA had any plans to encourage young people to register for the elections.
Adv Maluleke said the Committee would be informed about Youth Month, and that she had had a meeting with the Communications Liaison Officer (CLO) of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), because she wanted to establish how the Department could get involved to assist with the elections, and what plans the IEC had in place to ensure the safety of women and people with disabilities who wanted to vote. The CLO had said that they were happy to work with the DWYPD to ensure that young people voted, and wanted to know how the DWYPD could assist. The Department had responded that they would raise awareness, and the IEC undertook to provide a person to form part of the team planning Youth Month. She planned to inform Mr Carrim about her discussions with the IEC.
Mr Carrim commented that in the 2019 elections, the NYDA had worked with the IEC to register young people to vote by running various campaigns for the IEC, and this had translated to almost an additional 700 000 young people, over and above the estimates, registering for the national elections. The NYDA would run similar campaigns under the banner of the NYS programme, because participation in elections was a fundamental part of the democratic process.
The Chairperson asked the Adv Maluleke to continue with her response to the questions raised by the Members.
Adv Maluleke said that Dr Hlagala would respond to issues of legislation and consultation.
Dr Hlagala felt that the Mr Carrim had responded to the question about the amendment bill by indicating that the NYDA branches and centres would be more capacitated by putting up posters in their offices, and her unit would work with the NYDA to support the parliamentary process and further extend the consultation sessions to include hearings with young people. She added that they would also make use of disability forums, as indicated by Adv Maluleke.
Regarding the use of the NYDA branches, her unit normally worked through the national NYDA office and would continue to do so. The challenge in working with organisations was that they had to go back to consult with their constituents, and unfortunately this had not taken place, hence there had been an outcry, especially in the deep rural areas, that young people were not aware of the amendment bill. Her unit would have capacity building engagements with individual organisations on how to report back to their constituents. However, she had to advise the Committee that the youth development branch consisted of nine people, which meant her unit was grossly understaffed. They would, however, make use of the existing available structures to do their work.
She confirmed that her unit worked with universities, but there was an opportunity to improve the relationship her unit had with organisations of higher learning. Her unit, together with the NYDA, wished to present the integrated youth development strategy and the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to the Committee. The M&E framework, which her unit had developed, outlined the coordination mechanisms, which was a critical area into which the Members could provide input.
Adv Maluleke said there were still two issues she needed to address. The one was regarding the employment of the teachers’ assistants, and she wanted to agree with the Chairperson that the programme needed to be extended to all schools in order to have a greater impact. The DWYPD had a very good relationship with the DBE, and together they were planning a summit on the education of persons with disabilities. She would use that opportunity to talk to the DBE about developing clear guidelines in the form of a job description for young people employed as teachers’ assistants, as requested by the Chairperson.
The second issue was about the Department's website, which was not working. The reason for this was that the Microsoft licences had expired and the process of procuring the licences had been interrupted by the death of the director: A shortlist for this post had been completed and interviews were taking place on 14 May. The person chosen should start working on 1 June. On 6 May, the DWYPD would be having a meeting with the ICT SETA to agree on a service level agreement to migrate whatever information was required, and the website would be working soon.
Ms Sharif asked Ms Tshabalala to explain why the BMW vehicles were distributed to organisations that dealt with disabilities, and not to organisations that dealt with gender-based violence.
The Chairperson thanked the NYDA and the DWYPD, and said they could leave the meeting.
Adoption of minutes
The Committee considered and adopted the minutes of 2 March, 5 March, 9 March and 16 March 2021.
The Chairperson requested that Friday this week be scheduled to address the letter received from the President. Neither Ms Masiko nor Mr Mphithi would be available on Friday.
On 14 May, the Committee would consider the adoption of the Committee report on the letter received from the President.
On 19 May, the Committee would be debating the budget vote.
On 1 June, there would be a strategic planning session
On 2 June, there would be the confirmation of the Committee's strategic planning session
Ms Sharif wanted to know if there would be time to get the agencies to report before the strategic planning session.
The Committee programme was duly adopted.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee Secretary to note the elections.
Ms Sharif said that she would prefer that the strategic plan be done virtually.
The Chairperson asked if the strategic plan could be done in Parliament, and requested the staff to assist and notify everyone of the precautions.
The meeting was adjourned.
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