Young, jobless and desperate – ‘Sad’ NYDA faces online rage

2012-06-09 15:51

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is facing a growing social media campaign and a petition to have it disbanded as it started its Youth Month programme this week.

A group called Stop the NYDA was created on Facebook by motivational speaker and businessman Vusi Thembekwayo and had 884 fans by early Friday following a Twitter campaign by him and others.

News reports about NYDA’s request for a R1 billion budget from government appear to have sparked the campaign, and young people have related stories of their dealings with the controversial youth agency on social networks.

“NYDA wants R1bn from the government. We must speak now. They must account now. We must act now. Not moan after they get it,” tweeted Thembekwayo.

In an interview he said he was shocked by the fact the organisation was looking for so much money while the majority of the youth he had dealt with on social networks and during his talks said they had received no help from the NYDA.

“I am simply saying we must stop the government from giving them another cent until they account for what they have done thus far.

“They must tell us how many businesses they have funded, where are they, how many are still successful – we must completely audit them,” he said.

Thembekwayo said the agency needed to account for the controversial World Student Congress – dubbed the “Kissing Festival” – which it hosted two years ago using more than R100 million of public and lottery money.

Facebook user Vhamusanda Midi Khorombi claimed on the campaign page that the NYDA turned him away before hearing his story as he had no one to sign surety for his loan. “Isn’t the NYDA supposed to help the disadvantaged youth?” he asked.

The NYDA’s bosses were quick to dismiss the claims. At a function in Johannesburg this week, chief executive Steven Ngobeni said it was “unfortunate” they were being attacked on social networks by “uninformed” people.

He said that in the past two years, the NYDA received clean audits from the auditor-general which showed they were an accountable organisation.

Listing his organisation’s apparent successes, he said it was sad that a “motivational speaker” was not motivating young people and instead criticised those who took the youth’s plight seriously.

In a Twitter response to the campaign, the NYDA said: “NYDA notes ur fiery tweets. Sad, disappointed at ur inaccurate portrayal. How about mtg with our CEO to discuss.”

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