NYDA explains R100m youth fest bill
Johannesburg - The 17th World Festival of Youth and Students cost R100m to stage, instead of the R69m first reported, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) revealed on Tuesday.
The announcement was made at NYDA headquarters in Midrand by executive chairperson Andile Lungisa, who said the festival cost R100 000 000.42.
The event was held at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria in December with the theme: "Let's defeat imperialism for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation."
The agency had raised funds, and was still doing so, to ensure none of the NYDA's own budget was used to finance the festival.
R40m from lottery board
Prior to the festival, the NYDA said it had obtained R40m in funding from the National Lotteries Board (NLB), R27m from the presidency and another R3m from the arts and culture department.
NLB spokesperson Sershan Naidoo said it had paid a first tranche of R24m, but that before it transferred the remaining R16m, the NYDA would have to submit a progress report, with substantiating information, detailing how the funds were used.
"And then we have got to just cross check and verify," he said.
The NLB and the NYDA came in for severe criticism last year after it was announced that R40m had been allocated to the funding of the festival.
NYDA chief executive officer Stephen Ngubeni said the NYDA had never said the festival would cost only R69m, but that it had merely disclosed the amounts for which it had received funding.
He said the R69m cost had been "speculation" by the media and that the NYDA had received a further R5.5m from provincial governments, R1.8m from the department of communications and that registration fees from participants at the festival had generated another R2.3m.
Some funding had also come from municipalities.
He said the NYDA would submit a report to Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane on Tuesday.
Entertainment costs rang up to R9.5m, catering had a bill of R29m, travel and housing cost R24m and was paid to R3.4m volunteers.
Media coverage lamented
The event was originally meant to be held in Johannesburg, at an estimated cost of R340m, but moved to Pretoria to cut costs.
The NYDA said it had expected about 30 000 people to attend, but on Tuesday Lungisa said that 15 000 people had attended, of whom 7 000 were from abroad.
He lamented the media's coverage of the event.
"It seems from the beginning the South African media did not display any positive attitude to the hosting of the festival, leading to a multitude of negative media reports."
At the time, it was reported that delegates played "kissing games" while waiting for the festival to start after delays were announced over the loudspeakers.
There were transport problems and some speakers did not arrive.
Positive events in Egypt, Tunisia
According to a programme distributed at the start of the event, ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu were to address thousands of young people from over 100 countries at various sessions.
Organisers said none of the speakers had confirmed their attendance and would not be present.
There were also problems with access to food and complaints about caterers not being paid.
Ngubeni said that in contrast, international media had reported favourably on the event.
He said that one of the tangible benefits of the conference could be seen in the youth's involvement in events that subsequently unfolded in Egypt and Tunisia.
"We continue to witness delegates from Egypt and Tunisia who participated in the festival leading from the front in the campaign for democracy in their respective countries."