- Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, says the National Youth Development Agency is not for those who are politically connected.
- She said there were no requirements that youths should be politically connected to receive services from the agency.
- Nkoana-Mashabane also boasted about the agency's consecutive clean audits.
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is not and has never been an employment agency for the politically connected.
This is according to Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
She was responding to a parliamentary question from EFF MP Makoti Khawula, who wanted details on the government's plans to ensure that the NYDA becomes an "authentic agency for youth development, rather than an employment agency for the politically connected".
This comes after Parliament decided last year to restart, from scratch, the process of appointing NYDA board members.
Nkoana-Mashabane remains optimistic about the agency's work.
"The personnel hired by the agency are recruited and selected on the basis of the specified selection criteria and applicable policies and legislation. The NYDA's products and services are also delivered in a fair and transparent manner. Young people whose proposals do not yet meet the criteria are supported to ensure readiness. There is no requirement for a young person to be politically connected to receive the service of the NYDA," she said.
The selection process was mired in controversy after a letter which ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) convener Tandi Mahambehlala wrote to the party's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, surfaced. It provided the names of "preferred candidates".
The letter stated that: "The ANC [Youth League] convened all PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance) structures with regards to its preferred candidates for the new NYDA board. The structures agreed on the need for continuity with regards to the composition of the board, therefore, reaffirming the names of Sifiso Mtsweni and Joy Maimela."
Four names in the letter ultimately made it on to the final list. They were Sifiso Mtsweni, Thuthikile Zuma, Karabo Mohale and Avela Mjujabana.
In September last year, the National Assembly (NA) halted candidates' appointment to the board.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina led the charge and had the report sent back to the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities for further scrutiny.
Nkoana-Mashabane made little reference to the current process to appoint new NYDA board members.
"The appointments of the NYDA's board members are handled through an open and transparent parliamentary process. The call for applications is openly made through advertising board vacancies, and recommendations for appointment are made to the president. All of these have ensured that the NYDA has achieved six consecutive clean audits from the Auditor-General of South Africa," she said.
In August, the SA Youth Chamber of Commerce (SAYCC) wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa and asked him to intervene after several shortlisted candidates were found to have close links to the ANC.
Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.