- The SAYCC has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the NYDA board recommendations.
- Several candidates recommended for positions have close ties to the ANC Youth League.
- The organisation is planning a court challenge, if Ramaphosa does not respond to its grievances.
A national youth body says Parliament's shortlisting of board candidates for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is a window-dressing exercise after it came to light that most candidates were pre-selected before the official process started.
The SA Youth Chamber of Commerce (SAYCC) has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and requested that he intervene in the matter.
Several shortlisted candidates were found to have close links to the ANC.
SAYCC president Thapelo Maleke said they have given Ramaphosa until 17 August to respond to their demands, failing which they will challenge the NYDA board recommendations in the North Gauteng High Court.
"We have evidence that this whole process was rigged. That it was just a window-dressing exercise as the candidates were already decided. They continued with the interviews knowing this very well," he said.
News24 reported last week of a letter written by ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) convener, Tandi Mahambehlala, to the ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, which provides the names of "preferred candidates".
The letter states: "The ANCY NYTT convened all PYA 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 off Sifiso Mtsweni and Joy Maimela."
Four names included in the letter ultimately made it on to the final recommended list. They are Sifiso Mtsweni, Thuthikile Zuma, Karabo Mohale and Avela Mjujabana.
Maleke said the board cannot serve only those close to the ANC.
"We need to have various sectors of society represented on the board. I have not seen any white, coloured or Indian person shortlisted to serve on the board. We have young people from across the country who have brilliant minds. We need a board representative of society," he said.
"The president needs to send the names of shortlisted candidates back to Parliament," Maleke said.
DA MP Luyolo Mphithi is in full agreement that the board recommendations are not representative of South Africa's youth demographics.
"We maintain that the board recommendations were an ANC-sponsored cadre deployment scam, in order to legally loot the NYDA's almost R500 million budget.
"Clearly, the majority of the final recommendations were decided months before the interview process for the board even began, the parliamentary process was merely a box-ticking exercise by the ANC in the Portfolio Committee for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities," Mphithi said.
He also said they do not believe the composition of the board is based on merit.
"It is for this reason that we will again object to the NYDA board recommendations when the matter is debated and voted on in the National Assembly," he added.