NYDA gets second clean audit
Midrand - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) received an unqualified audit report for its latest financial results, despite a year of negative publicity, CEO Steven Ngubeni said on Thursday.
"Despite the mostly negative criticism, the NYDA once again for the last financial year attained an unqualified audit opinion - clean opinion - from an independent audit by the auditor general of South Africa," he told reporters in Midrand.
The NYDA has come under fire for exceeding its original budget of R69m to host the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in December last year.
At the time, the NYDA said the cost had risen to R100m. On Thursday, Ngubeni said the final cost of the event came to R106m.
"The R6m increase on the originally reported figure is mainly due to the late receipt of invoices relating to travel and accommodation."
He said the AG had highlighted some problematic areas in the NYDA's finances, but these had not affected his clean audit opinion.
No misappropriation of funds
These included expenditure of R67m not in accordance with National Treasury requirements.
Ngubeni said R26m of this amount related to the youth festival.
The amount was spent and was a result of the late withdrawal of the service provider awarded the contract for the event, and because of late commitment from funders.
"Due to the urgency resulting from the limited time, the normal tender processes were not followed to allow the delivery of a successful festival," he said.
The other R41m related to running expenses, mainly contracts entered into by the former Umsobomvu Youth Fund.
However, Ngubeni said the AG found no misappropriation of funds or other "unbecoming conduct".
"The AG has, in his opinion, cleared the festival. We believe we are close to laying the matter of the world festival to rest."
The public protector's report on the festival was still outstanding. The report seeks answers to two questions: Was the festival within the NYDA's mandate and was money allocated for the festival misappropriated?
‘Bigger than the World Cup’
"We are confident that the NYDA will once again be in the clear following the report from the public protector."
NYDA chairperson Andile Lungisa claimed the youth festival was "bigger than the World Cup".
"It was a credit to young South Africans who... hosted more than 15 000 delegates, it was a serious event... Even the United Nations has not hosted that event of more than 125 countries," he said.
The NYDA had also been criticised for its high staff costs.
Ngubeni said the agency spent 35% of its total income on staff costs and not the almost 50% some had suggested.
He said the agency had met 42 of its 49 key performance targets in its financial year ended March 31. This represented an 85% achievement compared to last year, when it only achieved 22% of its targets.
‘Needs R1bn annually’
Among these, some 18 000 jobs were created, exceeding its target of 14 888, and R41.7m worth of loans were approved, compared to a target of R11m.
Ngubeni said these efforts were "but a drop in the ocean" and called for more funding to deal with problems faced by young people, particularly high unemployment.
The National Treasury had said the agency needed to be capitalised by R600m a year to operate optimally, while Ngubeni said it needed about R1bn annually.
However, it only received R385m for the 2011/12 financial year.
"The NYDA Act requires of the organisation to be in every area where there are young people, and at the moment the NYDA is only available at 144 access points," Ngubeni said.
The NYDA came into being from a merger between the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission in 2009 by an act of Parliament.