How the league hijacked youth fest

2011-10-24 10:13

Weeks before the controversial World Festival of Youth and Students began, the ANC Youth League secretly hijacked the event.

Its first step was to order the ­National Youth Development Agency to kick out a multi-party committee which had already raised millions for the event.

The agency, which is populated with former and current youth league leaders, made exorbitant payments to ANC and youth league-connected businesspeople and artists for last December’s controversial event, which cost R106?million in Lotto and taxpayers’ money.

Three independent sources close to the festival’s organisation, the agency and the youth league
described how the league seized control of the event.

The national preparatory committee, which had managed to advance arrangements for the festival at a fraction of R106?million, was dissolved by the agency’s chairperson Andile Lungisa, a senior youth league member, last November.

The committee was formed to raise funds and organise the festival as the agency had believed it wouldn’t be eligible to source Lotto funding and money from other government departments because it is a government entity.

But once it became clear that millions could be raised, according to the sources, the youth league’s ­national working committee met in November and resolved that the agency should dissolve the ­planning committee.

Planning coordinator Abner Mosaase was replaced by the league’s then secretary-general Vuyiswa Tulelo.

Former planning committee member Dr Xhaka Kholekile Sasha said: “We mobilised and raised funds?.?.?.?but when the huge amounts of money started flowing in we were removed. We were then falsely accused of opening an ­account to steal money.”

Further control over the event and the cash came when events-management company Global Interface, appointed to run the ­festival and raise money, was forced to pull out.

Global Interface director Khosi Thabethe said: “We couldn’t commit ourselves without guarantees that deposits would be paid. We ­only had an appointment letter and nothing else.

“We wrote to them ­several times and there was no ­response, so we decided to walk away.”

The agency claims that most of the irregular spending incurred for the festival was because Global
Interface had failed to deliver on the terms of an agreement with them, sparking an organisational crisis.

Global Interface denies this.

An insider present at a special youth league executive meeting, where the decision was taken, said Mosaase was humiliated and ­ridiculed by the league’s leader, Julius Malema, when he tried to find out why he was being removed.

An insider who was present said: “It was a mafia-style takeover.”

The agency’s chief executive, Steven Ngubeni, who is a former youth league deputy secretary­general, said: “It is not true (that the planning committee was removed after securing funding) there wasn’t a single commitment (from funders). Fundraising was done by the agency and some planning ­committee members.”

Repeated attempts for comment from Lungisa were unsuccessful.

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