NYDA 'set to repeat mistakes'

2009-06-16 17:10

Johannesburg - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) being launched on Tuesday seems set to repeat the mistakes of previous government youth initiatives, DA leader Helen Zille said.

"The DA would like to give the NYDA a chance, and we will be watching them very closely to determine whether they use their R1bn budget of taxpayers' money to promote opportunities for youth generally, or merely to become yet another feeding trough for the ANC," Zille said in a statement.

The agency, the result of a merger of the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, was established to create and promote co-ordination in youth development issues.

This includes facilitating the roll-out of youth economic participation.

It is also tasked with formulating policy, research and development, providing youth advisory and information services, and access to funding.

"Over the past decade, the various provincial Youth Commissions have failed entirely to extend greater opportunities to young people.

"Together with the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, they ended up as little more than patronage schemes for ANC loyalists," Zille said.

Zille also criticised the appointment of Andile Lungisa, the deputy president of the African National Congress Youth League, to chair the NYDA.

"This immediately positions the organisation as a partisan political structure, rather than an organisation committed to the development of all young people."

She added that it had been reported that Democratic Alliance-aligned youth would be excluded from the agency.

"If this is the approach, the NYDA will merely be another patronage agency to advance the selective interest of ANC cadres, and will be doomed to failure."

Zille also expressed concern that staff of the "failed" Youth Commissions and Umsobomvu fund would be employed by the NYDA.

"If they failed before, why should they succeed now?" she asked.