Youth Festival 'helped free Egypt'
Gloria Edwards, Beeld
Pretoria - The controversial world youth festival held by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) late last year may have cost R100 million but it "helped to free Egypt".
NYDA chairperson and ANC Youth League vice-chairperson, Andile Lungisa, made this claim in Midrand on Tuesday after Cosatu demanded an audit of the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students.
The NYDA earlier said the festival had cost R72m - considerably less than the R100m that has now been confirmed.
Lungisa said that Egyptian youth who had attended the festival in Pretoria in December, had recently been "at the forefront of the Egyptian revolt".
"I'm not saying we started the protests, but before the festival there were no protests in Egypt.
"After the festival, there were. Draw your own conclusions," Lungisa told the media.
He believes the festival "changed the world's perspective".
He also claimed the festival played a role in the recent protests in Tunisia and the fighting for the separation of South Sudan.
Lungisa couldn't say how many youths from Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan had attended the festival, but had numbers for other countries.
He said there were almost 2 000 Zimbabweans, 242 Cubans and 500 Indian youngsters at the festival.
The NYDA initially said that of the R72m budget, R40m would come from the National Lottery Board, R29m from government and R3m from the Department of Arts and Culture.
The rest of the R100m which has now been made public, included R5.5m from the provinces, R1.8m from the communications department, and R3.2m from registration fees.
The NYDA has not yet received the full amount from the lottery board as the board first wants a full report on how the money was spent.
Lungisa said the report was sent to the board and Collins Chabane, minister in the Presidency, on Tuesday.
Steven Ngubeni, chief executive officer of the NYDA and vice-secretary general of the ANC Youth League, said the NYDA had asked for an audit itself but didn't carry it out due to pressure from Cosatu.
'Misuse of public money'
None of the money for the festival came from the NYDA budget, which is R931m.
Ngubeni earns more than a minister (R1.8m per year), while the NYDA has not yet achieved a single one of its objectives.
DA youth leader, Makashule Gana, on Tuesday called on President Jacob Zuma to suspend the NYDA board: "It is a misuse of public money. This money could have been spent on more necessary priorities than a social extravaganza of the ANC Youth League."
FF+ youth spokesperson, Wouter Wessels, requested an investigation by the public protector.