Despite Parliament bending over backwards to accommodate his candidacy, this week ANC Youth League (ANCYL) deputy president Desmond Moela pulled out of the race for a seat in the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
Moela withdrew his application on Tuesday, just a few hours before the specially established parliament committee was due to interview candidates for the NYDA board.
His withdrawal also came a day after the youth league’s national working committee met. Some who attended the meeting said he gave no indication of his intention to withdraw.
It remains unclear why Moela did so and he was not forthcoming about his reasons for the eleventh-hour withdrawal.
City Press could not get hold of Moela for comment, but he told News24 on Tuesday that he was not ready to divulge the reasons for his decision.
Moela was one of 14 candidates short-listed for the seven seats on the NYDA board, despite not having a post-matric qualification.
In fact, in November, Parliament dropped the requirement for a tertiary qualification for potential board members.
This was after the ANCYL lobbied the ANC for Moela to be included in the process.
The ANCYL in Mpumalanga, which is Moela’s home province, welcomed his withdrawal from the NYDA process and suggested that he withdrew to remove controversy from the process.
In a statement, the league said it was critical for the board to be established in a credible process devoid of controversy. It blamed “forces of darkness” for casting aspersions on the process, using Moela’s name as being at the centre of the controversy.
The league said Moela would be placing his energies and skills in assisting the ANCYL to build more vibrant, militant and radical structures throughout the country. “It is this and other pressing tactical and personal issues that have necessitated the deputy president of the ANCYL to consider withdrawing…”
Another Mpumalanga youth league member, Ndumiso Mokako, has emerged as a frontrunner for board chairperson. A number of ANCYL sources have told City Press that in Moela’s absence, the league would lobby for Mokako (30) to be the next chairperson of the NYDA.
Mokako, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Pretoria, currently works as a senior manager in the office of the public works, roads and transport MEC in Mpumalanga.
He was highly impressive in his interview on Wednesday.
“I am of the firm belief that my knowledge and expertise in finance and internal auditing will add value to the NYDA board. The fiduciary duties of the board are to ensure that it properly manages the finances of an institution,” he said.
“As someone who graduated with financial accounting and financial management, I have no doubt that I will add value,” said Mokako.
While Mokako spoke to the successes of the NYDA, he also noted its challenges.
“The NYDA is not an active youth development agency; it is not a campaigning youth agency. There are rarely funds where the young people of South Africa are.
“If I get appointed, I will make sure we have a campaigning youth development agency, which, when there is a bill in parliament to discuss the Higher Education Act or an act to discuss the Mining Charter, the NYDA must come and make a presentation,” he said.
His performance did not go unnoticed by his peers. “We have noted with enthusiasm the outstanding performance of comrade Ndumiso Mokako during the interview process. We hold a strong view that in him, youth economic emancipation will be advocated and processed accordingly. His understanding of youth challenges is above board,” opined the league.
All candidates spoke to the “perception” that the agency was elitist and not easily accessible to needy young people, with some questioning its absence from the #FeesMustFall campaign.
The ad hoc committee will have a hard time choosing the final seven as the candidates interviewed were highly impressive.