NYDA ‘working to restore credibility’

2013-07-02 11:23

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The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has dismissed accusations that it has not been living up to its mandate over the past three months.

Recently appointed NYDA executive chairman Yashin Pillay said at The New Age business briefing today that the agency’s new leadership was working to restore credibility and prove its capabilities.

“Reports that the NYDA has not kept its promises is simply not true. Change cannot and will not happen overnight. Considerable progress has been made. New plans focus on better education, skills and jobs, and business,” Pillay said.

He called for more involvement by other state entities and for stronger participation by the private sector in youth-development programmes.

He stressed the agency was necessary to coordinate youth development work.

“(We have) made significant strides over the last three months. The youth is facing challenging but also exciting times ... The youth needs to challenge the status quo,” he said at the event held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Pillay acknowledged the need to correct the mistakes of the past and the need to change the current outlook the youth had of the agency.

The previous leaders came under scrutiny as issues of underpeformance dominated the question-and-answer session.

“One has got to acknowledge that the transition in 2009 (from the Umsobomvu Youth Fund) was a difficult process. The birth of the NYDA was challenging. We have made progress since 1994. There were no government programmes that addressed the youth issues. We are building on that progress.”

Pillay urged the youth to manage their expectations in the number of people that could be assisted. He said the agency’s role was to reach their small targets to assist greater numbers in the future.

“Youth development is a serious issue in the country. We have a turnaround strategy for the NYDA that was tabled (in) Parliament. When it comes to infrastructure, we have tabled to Parliament that in this financial year we can support 2 000 artisans, and we can support 37 000 young entrepreneurs.”

A delegate at the session, Nomsa Khanyile, asked if the NYDA was working to address the lack of engagement with youth in rural areas.

Pillay quoted figures stating there were 7.5 million unemployed youth who were not in any learning institution. Although the agency was working towards changing this, it could not achieve its targets alone.

“The NYDA has 14 branches (nationwide) and 173 local offices. With the programmes we offer we can probably only reach about 100 000 youths a month ... in comparison with the millions that need assistance.”

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