Inside the hijacking of the NYDA

2010-10-31 09:52

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board violated its own selection processes to load seven of nine provincial advisory boards with handpicked ANC Youth League leaders.

The board, chaired by the league’s deputy president, Andile Lungisa, not only brought in its own chosen candidates after the deadline for applications had expired, but also overturned decisions by its selection panel on who should be appointed.

As a result the board discarded candidates who had performed well during the intensive interview process and replaced them with their own.

The move ensured that six provincial structures – KwaZulu­Natal, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State and Gauteng – are headed by a chairperson and a deputy brought in ­illegally by the board.

Provincial chairpersons and their deputies occupy full-time positions and will each earn a whopping R700 000 and R500 000 a year respectively.

In Limpopo and Northern Cape the board did not introduce late candidates as consolidation by the league in the provinces ensured their candidates met the deadlines and took the positions.

In Western Cape the presence of an official from the premier’s office blocked moves to install late candidates as chair and deputy but four of the seven provincial advisory board members are ANCYL activists who can now outvote the chairperson on any ­issue.

All nine provincial structures are now loaded with ANCYL members.

Strong candidates from opposition youth formations and non-governmental ­organisations were removed in favour league

The board also appointed three candidates who either have ­criminal records or have refused to ­undergo fingerprint analysis as part of integrity monitoring.

An NYDA report on the recruitment of its 63 provincial board members shows how the selection panel was manipulated to force it to agree to late nominations and how candidates were nominated by the board rather than by following proper agency procedures.

The report also says “self-nominated” candidates introduced by the board were appointed while other applicants were rejected because they had not been nominated by any NGO, political party or youth development organisation.

On Friday Lungisa, confronted with a detailed set of questions and specific details about the board’s abuse of process, refused to address the issues, saying only that the process was “open to all young people and youth formations”.

Lungisa said the process was “rigorous and spanned over five months” and that all appointments were made in terms of the agency’s criteria.

“We welcome any organisations and youth to approach the NYDA with their concerns.

Where they require additional information their requests must be submitted in accordance with the guidelines on Promotion of Access to Information Act,” Lungisa said.

However, opposition youth leaders have written to Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, under whom the agency falls, demanding that the ­provincial boards be scrapped and the process started anew.

Chabane this week asked the agency’s board for a detailed ­report on the appointment ­process so that he could comment on it publicly after ­perusing it, said spokesperson Harold Maloka.

Young Communist League spokesperson Gugu Ndima said: “It is bad enough that certain organisations have appointed cronies into these positions, but what would be even worse would be incompetent people being ­appointed illegally.”

DA youth federal chair Mbali Ntuli said the provincial advisory board members were “unlikely” to fulfil their mandate in a fair and independent way as they will be beholden to the structure that “deployed” them – the ANCYL.

Ntuli added that the agency, 18 months since its official establishment and R931 million later, had still failed to prove its worth.

IFP Youth Brigade chairperson Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi has asked Parliament to launch its own investigation into the matter because “we are now witnessing an illegal takeover of the ­NYDA by the ANCYL”.

“The NYDA’s core mandate has been subverted; now it will serve only the interests of the ANCYL,” he said.

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