Headless agency to get new board

2012-05-26 15:43

Interviews for a new board of the National Youth Development Agency are set to start in Parliament tomorrow after political wrangles delayed the process by weeks.

Efforts to open the application process afresh were halted after concerns that too many of the 23 shortlisted candidates were close to expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, a source close to the process told
City Press.

A source within the agency confirmed that the “environment” was hostile.

The shortlist was published at the end of March, but interviews have been delayed twice. An email to the 23 candidates from Parliament explained this was because of “political reasons”.

Those wanting to delay the process have argued that academic qualifications should be compulsory for board members.

They said members of the most recent board didn’t all have qualifications, which was a problem.

But the chairperson of the parliamentary ad hoc committee doing the interviews, Mmamoloko Kubayi, said the positions were advertised without the academic requirement.

She previously told the committee that formal education was not of utmost importance if the candidate had experience in youth development.

Kubayi told City Press that postponements were caused by the vetting of candidates for criminal records and to ensure that they were South African citizens.

The vetting report is due to be tabled to the committee tomorrow morning, “and the first session will be a closed session to discuss that report”, she said.

Former board chairperson Andile Lungisa, who is seen to be close to Malema, said the board had been successful regardless of the qualifications members had.

“The presidency never once had to intervene in disagreements, but this happens with the SABC board all the time,” he said.

There are fears the delays will affect the upcoming National Youth Day (June 16) celebrations, which the agency organises together with the arts and culture department.

At least two members of the previous board told City Press they had not been working since they stepped down at the end of last month, but the agency’s chief operating officer Magdalene Moonsamy denied this.

“We can’t have a situation where there is no board,”she said. “The board’s tasks and responsibilities are going ahead.”

The agency’s administrative staff and chief executive, Steven Ngubeni, whose five-year contract ends in 2014, were holding the fort, she said.

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