Adv Koleka Beja, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, tabled and briefed the Committee on the Draft National Youth Development Agency Bill. The objects of the Bill were now reflected as the establishment of a National Youth Development Agency, as a structure that would coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of an integrated youth policy and strategy. The Bill also sought to ensure responsiveness to the aspirations and challenges experienced by the South African youth. Furthermore, it aimed to promote youth participation in governance, the economy and society at large. The National Youth Development Agency would be established under the Public Finance Management Act as a juristic person, and its role and functioning was provided for in the Bill. The Draft Bill furthermore provided for the functions of the Presidency, what would be the Integrated Youth Development Strategy and provided for the control and management of the Agency, which would be run by a Board. The Draft Bill set out the composition, appointment and conditions of service of the Board, and the need for transparency and disclosure of any interests by Board members. The funding and investment would be regulated by the Public Finance Management Act. An important point was that there would be public participation in the nomination process, that there were stated requirements in respect of representivity, that Parliament was also involved in the appointment process but that the final appointments would be by the President, in consultation with the Minister of Finance. Transitional provisions were also provided for, but Adv Beja noted that there was a need to be sensitive because there were also provincial interests involved, so a wholesale repeal of the existing legislation would not deal with all of the processes.
Members questioned whether the newspaper advertisements were ready for publication in the weekend press, and were assured that they were, and that the final decision on which newspapers to use would depend on the budget allocation to the Committee. The call for public submissions would be followed by days set aside for consideration of oral and written submissions, and it was hoped that the process could perhaps be finalised by 21 November.
Draft National Youth Development Agency Bill (the Bill) of 2008: Parliamentary Legal Adviser’s briefing
The Chairperson reminded members that after the draft bill had been prepared and tabled it would be advertised for submissions and comments, and then two days were allocated for public hearings. Strict time frames would take the process to 21 November.
Adv Koleka Beja (Parliamentary Legal Advisor) tabled and briefed the Committee on the draft Bill, and asked the Committee to apply their minds to the clauses.
Adv Beja read out the Preamble to the Bill, which now read:
’To provide for the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency aimed at creating and promoting coordination in youth development matters; to determine the objects and functions of the Agency; to determine the manner in which it is to be managed and governed; to regulate its staff matters and financial affairs; to provide for the administration of the fund referred to in the Demutualisation Levy Act, 1998, by the Agency under a new name; to repeal the National Youth Commission Act, 1996; and to provide for matters connected therewith.’
Clause 3: Objects of the Agency
Adv Beja explained that the Bill sought to establish a National Youth Development Agency as a structure that would coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of an integrated youth policy and strategy. The Agency would ensure responsiveness to the aspirations and challenges experienced by the South African youth. Furthermore, it aimed to promote youth participation in governance, the economy and society at large.
The Agency would be a juristic person, and would be listed in a Schedule to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Clause 23 prescribed that the Agency may not be placed under judicial management or put into liquidation other than through an Act of Parliament adopted specifically for that purpose.
Clauses 4 to 5 of the Bill listed the principles of youth development, the functions of the presidency and Agency, what would be the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, and the control and management of affairs of the Agency.
Functions and Governance of the Agency
Adv Beja indicated that the functions of the Agency were set out in Clause 6. The governance of the Agency, as set out in Clause 8, would be through a Board of Directors, and the draft Bill further set out the composition, appointment and conditions of service of the Board and how that Board would be appointed. There would be participation by the public in the nomination process, which would ensure transparency and openness in the appointment of the Board, Parliament would also play a role in the appointment of the Board, and there was a requirement of representivity of the broad spectrum of people of South Africa, paying special attention to issues such as race, gender, disability and geographical spread. The nominations must also be published. The President, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, would determine appointment of directors of the Board.
Meetings of the Board
Adv Beja noted that the Board was obliged to meet at least four times a year. Four Members would constitute a quorum. An important feature of Clause 12, on meetings, was disclosure if Members had an interest in a matter. Other Board members must then decide whether the particular member having an interest could continue to be part of the proceedings. Clause 13 set out that the Board could establish committees to assist it in the performance of its functions.
Staffing of the Agency
Clauses 14 to 16 covered the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer, to be appointed by the President after consultation with the Board, that person’s functions and responsibilities, the employment contract and performance agreement and the appointment of other staff, which would take place by the Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with the Board.
Delegation and Assignment
Adv Beja explained that Clause 17, dealing with delegation and assignment was aligned with Section 56 of the PFMA, which regulated delegations.
Funding and Investments
Adv Beja noted that the funding and investments were also regulated by the PFMA’s investment policy. Clause 18 dealt with funding and investment requirements, and Clause 19 set out the application of the Public Finance Management Act.
Adv Beja noted that management boards were to be established for each province and municipal area to assist in the work of the Agency at provincial and local levels. Local coordinators could serve on the Board ex officio but had no voting rights. The duties of the Local Coordinators were set out in Clause 21.
Adv Beja pointed out that since the intention was to repeal the National Youth Commission Act, transitional arrangements had to be put in place before this Bill was implemented. She noted that in terms of Clause 24(1), the President, acting in consultation with the Minister of Finance, would have to transfer the business of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission, including all their assets, liabilities, rights and obligations, to this Agency. Clause 24(2) addressed the position with the Provincial Youth Commissions. There was a need for some sensitivity and consultation, as the Provincial Youth Commissions were formed through provincial legislation, so the President and the relevant Premiers would need to consult to determine a date by which the transfer of the assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of the Provincial Youth Commission would be transferred.
Clause 25 set out the laws to be repealed.
Adv Beja noted that the Committee could discuss the issues to come up with the best piece of legislation.
Mr J Combrinck (ANC) asked the Committee Secretary to indicate whether preparations for the publication of the advertisements were at such a stage that they would be ready to be placed in the weekend papers.
The Committee Secretary responded that they were and confirmed that they would run for the next three weeks.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked whether the Chairperson had seen the advertisements and was satisfied with them.
The Chairperson said that these had not yet been brought to his attention.
Ms N Sibhidla (ANC) asked in which newspapers they would appear.
The Chairperson responded that that issue had been raised at the last meeting and the final decision depended upon the budget allocated to the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that Members were satisfied with the Draft Bill at the moment. After the matter had been advertised, a period would be allowed for receipt of submissions from all the stakeholders in youth matters, and the necessary number of sessions would be scheduled for consideration of oral and written submissions. The Committee would thereafter deliberate on the issues, with a view to concluding the process by 21 November.
The meeting was adjourned.
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