Race row over NYDA board interviews

2012-06-02 15:33

The Eastern Cape-based Gamtkwa Khoisan Council and a City of Johannesburg official are demanding that there be at least one coloured member on the board of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

The council says it is disappointed and outraged that none of the 23 candidates being interviewed for an NYDA board position is coloured.

The council, a registered non-profit organisation, says coloured and Khoisan people need a representative in the NYDA because the community’s youth is under threat from gang violence, drugs, alcohol and a lack of jobs.

The Gamtkwa Khoisan Council nominated 25-year-old accountant Nestor Swarts as its preferred candidate.

Pastor Elrich Oliphant, who works in the City of Johannesburg’s revenue and customer relation management department, suggested the interview process be stopped for the “gross omission” of one minority group. The new board will serve a three-year term.

The council threatened to halt the appointment of the NYDA board with a petition to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and President Jacob Zuma’s office.

The council’s Kobus Reichert said Parliament didn’t bother to acknowledge receipt of their letter and complaint.

“We’re extremely disappointed in the process. The board must be representative of all South Africans,” said Reichert.

He said the council would convene a meeting of elders to guide it on the way forward.

“If they decide against our candidate, then they must provide reasons. We can’t force them to appoint whoever we nominate, but you can’t exclude the Khoisan,” he said.

According to NYDA records, by the end of July last year the agency employed 313 black Africans, 35 coloureds, nine Indians and seven whites.

Mmamoloko Kubayi, co-chairperson of Parliament’s ad hoc committee conducting the interviews, had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to print.

Kubayi is also ANC Youth League Gauteng deputy provincial secretary.

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