Mr J Combrinck (ANC), and Mr M Swathe (DA) were elected to the task team to assist the Chairperson with the process of legislation. The Chairperson noted that the political parties had not yet submitted their proposals on the objects of the Bill and these had been developed by the Parliamentary Legal Advisers. The proposed objects were read out. Members questioned the proposal to merge the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, saying that although this might be the final result, it should happen only after consideration of all the issues, and the implications of both merger, disbanding and formation of new structures should be considered. Members also questioned the placing of advertisements calling for comment in the media, noting that newspapers that reached the majority of youth should be selected. This matter would receive further discussion at the Committee of Chairpersons. The draft programme was adopted, with amendments.
Mr Johnson read the resolution of the House of 23 September, which formed the committee, and reminded members that it had to report back by 20 October 2008. The committee was required to meet and consider youth legislation for the National Youth Development Agency.
Election of Management Committee
Mr J Combrinck (ANC), and Mr M Swathe (DA) were elected to assist the Chairperson with the process of drafting legislation.
Objects of the Bill
Mr Johnson reminded members that the resolution of the House had no terms of reference at, therefore the Committee would have to come up with legislation and put together the terms of reference. Political parties were expected to submit to him what they saw as the objects, but none had yet been received. For this reason draft terms of reference were put together by Adv Koleka Beja (Parliamentary Legal Advisor) and Ms Kashifa Abrahams (Parliamentary Researcher); and were available for debate.
Mr Johnson read the draft objects of the proposed legislation, which were as follows:
”1. Following the 1994 democratic breakthrough, youth formations and the government were seized with developing youth- focused legislative and policy frameworks. Among these were the National Youth Commission Act, 1996 (Act No. 19 of 1996), the National Youth Policy 2000 and the National Youth Policy Framework 2002-2007. While these frameworks outlined the country’s perspective and institutional arrangements for youth development, these institutions have been experiencing coordination challenges. The National Youth Development Agency Bill is therefore proposed to –
a. develop and promote an integrated approach to youth development;
b. merge the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund;
c. establish a National Youth Development Agency as a structure that would coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of an integrated youth policy and strategy;
d. ensure responsiveness to the aspirations and challenges experienced by the South African Youth; and
e. promote youth participation in governance, the economy and society at large.”
Mr G Madikiza (UDM) was not comfortable with object (b), being the merger of the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF). He said that whilst he accepted that this might be the ultimate result, the decision for the merger should be informed by discussion and debate.
Mr Swathe supported Mr Madikiza on this point, saying that there were so many concerns from the young people in South Africa when disbanding was suggested, with regard to the two entities that he did not think that merging them would necessarily be a solution.
Mr Johnson pointed out that Mr Swathe was talking of disbanding instead of merging.
Ms S Lebenya (IFP) added her support to Mr Madikiza, and did not feel comfortable with the reference to a merger because she did not think it would serve the purpose of introducing a unified structure to address challenges facing young people in South Africa. She requested that either item b should be removed, or that it should instead propose disbandment of the NYC and the UYF, and the establishment of a completely new entity.
Mr Madikiza explained that he did not have a problem as to whether in fact a merger did result, but he felt that this should be decided only after a process, and not stated as an object beforehand.
Mr Johnson asked for some legal background as to the definition.
Adv Koleka Beja said perhaps the word “merge” was not the most suitable term, and pointed out that the draft Preamble made reference to doing away completely with those structures, since it spoke to repealing the National Youth Commission Act, so that there would no longer be any legislation regulating the NYC, which would in turn fall away. The new piece of legislation would regulate the functioning of any replacing structure. She asked the Committee if they wanted that to be reflected in the objects of the Bill.
Mr Johnson proposed, and Committee Members agreed, that this aspect be set aside for the moment and reconsidered after the fuller briefing on the draft legislation itself, which should include some comment as to the meanings of merging and disbanding and their implications.
The Committee discussed the draft programme (see attached document) in detail.
Mr Combrinck brought to the attention of Members that Parliament would be sitting in the week of 14 November and the programme would have to be changed accordingly.
Ms D van der Walt (DA) referred to advertisements that must appear in national newspapers and asked which newspapers would be used, saying that the broad spectrum of South African youth would be included.
The Chairperson responded that advertisements would appear in the Sunday Times, City Press, the Sowetan and Mail and Guardian.
Ms van der Walt asked that it be recorded that the Rapport should be included, lest the failure to advertise there would cut out a sector of young people.
Ms Lebenya proposed also using one or two African language newspapers for those who were not fluent in English.
Mr Swathe asked if The Sun was being left out.
Mr Johnson said it depended on budget.
Ms T Tobias-Pokolo explained that that was not for the Committee to decide. There were financial implications and the Committee could not make the decision unless it knew how much the Committee was being allocated in the budget. Parliament preferred to use national newspapers. This debate belonged more properly at the Committee of Chairpersons, which determined how much the Committee could use for advertising.
Ms van der Walt was aware of the National Paper issue, but stressed that although the Sunday papers might address the issue, the Mail and Guardian did not enjoy wide readership and was expensive. If there had to be cuts, then she would suggest leaving out the Mail and Guardian in favour of other papers that did reach the ordinary youth or structures.
The draft programme was adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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