Durban - The chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has lambasted government for not adequately funding the agency.
Sifiso Mtsweni on Wednesday called out Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and the ministry for not directing more government funding to the agency. He was speaking at a business breakfast in Richards Bay, north of Durban.
Gigaba, who was touted as a special guest speaker, was a no-show.
Mtsweni said: "We hoped Malusi would be here. I want to say to him that the budget of the NYDA is just R440m; R158m of that goes to salaries. If you take the money of the NYDA and divide it on each young person, it means SA is spending R20 on young people. It can't be correct."
He added that in 2003, funding for the youth had reached almost R2bn, yet in 2017, it was lower.
He said that young people were a majority in the country and needed to reap the rewards of government funding.
"Young people are crammed into RDP houses, not finding joy. They are failing to find places in institutions of higher learning. We need to be giving them opportunities and help them help themselves."
Mtsweni said that the NYDA was also calling for a "scrapping of experience" in government jobs.
"The NYDA is looking for a scrapping of experience. A young person as a driver must have five years of experience. Why? Just to drive a car? You start it, you put it in drive and you go."
'Old woman at reception'
He said that young people should be allowed to come into the workplace.
"Government must lead by example and ensure they feed young people into the system.
"Young people are the majority of the country, but the first thing you see at big companies is an old woman at reception. We need a quota system, saying each and every workplace must have 40% young people."
Mtsweni was also critical of the NYDA, saying that it was not where young people need it to be.
"We accept the fact that young people in SA are saying that the NYDA is not where young people are. In fact, in most cases, the NYDA exists in urban areas."
For example, the NYDA's KwaZulu-Natal offices were in eThekwini.
"Young people of KZN, when they want to access services of NYDA, have to come all the way to eThekwini. In most cases, they arrive there and don't find the joy that they want."
He added that NYDA needed to become more visible in rural areas and townships.
"Young people are in the townships and rural areas. Those are the young people we need to unearth."