NYDA Amendment Bill: DWYPD response to public submissions continued; with Deputy Minister

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

03 November 2023
Chairperson: Ms C Ndaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee held a virtual meeting to continue its discussions on the responses of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) to oral and written submissions received on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Amendment Bill.

The Committee considered what the correct classification of the NYDA was. It was advised that the amended Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) specifically indicated that the NYDA was a Schedule 3a entity, as it was an extension of government.

The Committee reviewed the clause on the removal of board members. It drew attention to this clause following its experience with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), where a commissioner had been placed on suspension with full pay for two years whilst the Committee had struggled to have him removed. The Committee wanted to craft the clause in a way that would make it easier to remove such board members without having to waste public funds.

The Committee agreed that it should be made an obligation in the bill that provincial and local governments had to share some responsibility for funding NYDA offices in their areas in order for the Agency to reach out to more rural youth.

Members discussed the provisions of the Employment Equity Act , and stressed the importance of the NYDA promoting employment opportunities for the disabled population. Persons with disabilities were currently being excluded from jobs.

Meeting report

The Chairperson greeted the Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Sisisi Tolashe, and Members of the Committee to the virtual meeting. She said it would be a continuation of the meeting on Tuesday, and Members would receive further responses from the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) to the public submissions on the National Youth Development Agency Amendment Bill.

The Committee Content Advisor indicated that in terms of process after this meeting, the Committee would be deliberating on the amendments to the bill and would then proceed to the adoption of the motion of desirability and the adoption of the Committee report.

Responses to submissions received on NYDA Amendment Bill

Mr Emmanuel Kganakga, Director: Youth Legislation and Policy, DWYPD,  provided the Committee with a summary of what had been agreed to in the previous meeting.

  • The Committee had agreed that the eligibility age for board members should remain between 18 to 35;
  • The Committee retained the functions such as career guidance, the creation of a database for unemployed young people and some other functions of the Agency in Section 4 objects and functions;
  • The position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) would be retained;
  • The term of appointment for board members would be three years and the Board should consist of seven members, with both the executive chairperson and deputy chairperson having voting power.

See details of the Department’s responses  in the attached document.

Schedule of the NYDA

Ms F Masiko (ANC) noted that the NYDA Act currently listed the entity as a Schedule 1 entity, but the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) listed the entity as one of the Schedule 3(a) entities. She asked the NYDA and the Department whether consistency should be ensured in this amendment bill.

The Chairperson asked for the inputs of the Department and the Office of the State Law Advisor on this issue.

Adv Harriet Mekwa, Senior State Law Advisor, responded that she would investigate thoroughly and then provide a feedback to the Committee.

Ms Mikateko Maluleke, Director-General (DG), DWYPD, endorsed Ms Masiko's comments, and confirmed that all government extensions fell under Schedule 3, according to the newly amended PFMA.

Ms Sueanne Isaac, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, indicated that she would also check and get back to the Committee on that.

Ms Nondumiso Ngqulunga, Director: Legal Services, DWYPD, said the PFMA specifically mentioned that the NYDA was a Schedule 3a entity.

After the discussion, the Committee decided that the bill should explicitly state that the NYDA is a Schedule 3a entity.

Removal of board member

Ms Masiko asked the Department what the current measures were for the removal of an NYDA board member.

Mr Kganakga referred Members to s10(2) of the principal Act, which states that:

"The President may, on recommendation of the Parliament, remove a member from office if the member­:

  1. commits a misconduct;
  2. is unable to perform his or her duties efficiently;
  3. is absence from three consecutive meetings of the Board without permission of the Board or good cause;
  4. becomes disqualified as contemplated in subsection (1)."

Ms Masiko noted that explanation, and requested the Committee to look into the matter due to its own experience in dealing with the matter of Commissioner Botha at the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). The question came down to how the Committee could craft the best way to assist the removal processes more expeditiously. If a board member misbehaved, the Committee wanted to remove the member without having to experience unnecessary delays. In her view, the bill currently did not have a provision that could empower Members to deal with such matters speedily.

The Chairperson shared Ms Masiko’s view, and was adamant that the President must remove those board members who were guilty of misconduct. Holding hearings was a waste of time. In the case of the CGE, a Commissioner was being paid for two years whilst being on suspension without doing any work. She called it wasteful and fruitless expenditure. The issue would be discussed by the Committee next week.

Deputy Minister Tolashe fully understood Committee Members’ frustration and experience on the CGE, and suggested there should be further consultation to figure out a solution to the issue.

The Chairperson referred to the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 on page 25 of the document, and asked if that Act had not been amended after democracy.

She asked whether an insolvent person could be disqualified.

Dr Bernice Hlagala, Chief Director: Youth Development, DWYPD, explained that a person under curatorship could be added, because it was not included in the principal Act.

Ms Lisa Naidoo, State Law Advisor, explained that those were the standard provisions which cut across all legislation to remove board members, and that would include a person under curatorship.

Ms N Sonti (EFF) said that Commissioner Mbuyiselo Botha must pay back the money that he had been paid during his suspension.

Submission of Western Cape Government

The Chairperson said that the Western Cape government must come on Board and contribute to the work of the NYDA. It was a pity that the Committee had never checked. She asked Ms Alexandria Procter, NYDA board member, if it was the Western Cape or the Eastern Cape that had struggled with provincial offices.

Ms Karabo Mohale, Deputy Chairperson, NYDA, confirmed that there were working offices in the Eastern Cape, and it did have a regional office in the Western Cape. It would need further confirmation, and the NYDA would then make a written submission to the Committee.

Ms Masiko concurred with the Chairperson on the importance of forging partnerships with provincial governments. She was aware that the Eastern Cape provincial government had set aside a fund of R30 million for the NYDA, and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial government also had a partnership with the entity. She encouraged more such partnerships, including the Western Cape government. Given the country’s fiscal challenges, the presence of the Agency in rural communities meant that provincial and local governments must come on Board to fund some of the NYDA’s offices so that people could benefit. She suggested the Committee should engage with the Premiers to discuss the issue.

The Chairperson agreed it should be made explicit that it was an obligation for provincial and local governments to fund the NYDA offices.

Clause 1

The Chairperson dispelled the misconception that the National Youth Policy would displace the NYDA, because they served different objectives.

Ms Masiko added that it was the prerogative of the sitting President to name the department.

Clause 2

Ms G Opperman (DA) asked for more clarity on the Employment Equity Act.

Mr Waseem Carrim, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NYDA, confirmed that it meant that the NYDA’s programmes and employment mandates would reflect the Employment Equity Act. The Department of Employment and Labour published employment equity targets of the country annually. Population groups who were more vulnerable, such as black Africans, coloured, etc, should be given priority in respect of the NYDA’s programmes and employment opportunities.

Ms Opperman asked Mr Carrim if, in essence, that would mean that employment would be in favour of someone on the basis of skin colour.

Mr Carrim said yes -- and the rationale behind that was to correct the historical injustices of the past. The Agency’s approach was in line with the broader programmes conducted by government, which were all targeted to redress the injustices those individuals had endured.

The Chairperson asked if youth who lived with disabilities were being accommodated according to the Employment Equity Act.

Mr Carrim replied that they were, and indicated that the Agency was required to report such statistics to the Department of Labour (DEL) annually. He reiterated that this approach was the perspective of the broader government structure. The DEL sets employment targets. Every company submits a plan on an annual basis, and the DEL then audits them. The NYDA’s approach was to lobby for the employment of youth, including youths with disabilities in the public, private sector and civil society in the country. It also reached out to help companies to achieve that, as some companies struggled to find youth recruits. In scenarios like this, the NYDA could provide such information from its own database of unemployed graduates.

Ms Maluleke added that the DWYPD monitors governmental departments and submits a report on the percentage of employment of persons with disabilities annually. Its White Paper had set a target that the country should achieve 7% representation by 2030. On Wednesday, Cabinet decided that the public service sector would gradually increase the percentage by 1% every year. In 2023-25, that percentage would be increased to 3% to achieve that 7% target by 2030. The President had also instructed government departments to proactively reach out to persons with disabilities and hire them, because the government was underperforming, having only 1.49% of persons with disabilities at the moment. The private sector fared better in the employment of persons with disabilities.

The Chairperson agreed, and said that she had heard anecdotes of people who were disabled and had skills, but were rejected by government departments because they preferred not hiring persons with disabilities.

That concluded the Department’s responses to the public submissions.

The Chairperson said that Committee Members would coitnue deliberations at the meeting on Tuesday next week.

The meeting was adjourned.  


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