May 18, 2021

Legal Battles Looms For NYDA Board Process

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After the completion of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board process last week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) which dubbed the entire process as predetermined, vowed to challenge the outcome.

At least five of the seven candidates who will be appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to serve on the NYDA board for three years were recommended as preferred candidates by the ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) prior to the selection interviews.

The City Press claimed to have seen a letter dated May 11, written by NYTT convener and former deputy minister of communications Tandi Mahambehlala to the ANC deputy secretary-general, which provides the names of “preferred candidates” prior to the parliamentary process.

According to the letter, the list was reaffirmed at the NYTT meeting convened on January 29. The recommended candidates are Sifiso Mtsweni, Karabo Mohale, Thuthukile Zuma, Paballo Ponoane, Lukhona Afika Mnguni, Gerald Molaoli Sekake and Avela Mjajubana, five of whom were on the list in May, according to the paper.

However, a youth-run organisation is set to challenge the outcome of the process. According to SA Youth Chamber of Commerce president Thapelo Maleke, has said his organisation will launch an application for the review of the entire process and submit that it be nullified and started from the beginning.

Maleke said it will be launching an application in the Pretoria High Court to interdict Parliament from deliberating on the seven “predetermined recommended names” and to interdict Ramaphosa from considering the names, which are “an outcome of a blatantly flawed process”.

“Further to that, we will launch an application for the review of the entire process and submit that it be nullified and started from the beginning. If the ANC factions are unable to allow the NYDA to have credibility and serve the interests of the broader sections of society, then the NYDA must close shop, for it will continue to be a lost cause and an unnecessary expense for taxpayers,” said chamber president Maleke.

He said it was patronising to the country’s youth that Parliament wasted taxpayers’ money to conduct interviews and used live broadcasts as a smokescreen when it knew that the outcome was predetermined.

The SA Deaf Youth Development Project said it rejected the appointments because the selection process was rigged from the beginning to favour politically connected individuals.

The failures and challenges that characterise the NYDA in its mandate [arise from the] constant deployment of politically affiliated youth leaders.
SA Deaf Youth Development Project president Clifford Machete

“This regrettable appointment exemplifies a consistent pattern of recycling of the problems that afflict the agency and other state-owned enterprises, where incompetent political deployees are appointed to critical positions of leadership.

“The failures and challenges that characterise the NYDA in its mandate [arise from the] constant deployment of politically affiliated youth leaders at the expense of deserving candidates in different fields, including law, education and agriculture, as well as candidates from minority racial groups and the disability sector,” said project president Clifford Machete.

“We are of the view that candidates should not be appointed just because they are members of those communities, but we believe that there are capable young people who belong to those communities.”

We call for the entire process to be dissolved and re-initiated to create space for neglected young professionals, activists and representatives from the disability and LGBTIQ+ communities.
SA Deaf Youth Development Project president Clifford Machete

Machete continued: “The committee should intensify its efforts to find them. This would require it to go beyond its line of duty in understanding the challenges faced by most young people in the country, especially those in marginalised communities.”

“We call for the entire process to be dissolved and re-initiated to create space for neglected young professionals, activists and representatives from the disability and LGBTIQ+ communities.”

In future, Machete said, the selection process should be conducted by an independent review committee to avoid conflicts of interest, nepotism and political influence.

The SA Youth Council – the umbrella body for youth structures in the country – said it had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly to register its “grievance and objection to the manner in which the shortlisting was conducted”.

The co-chairpersons of the subcommittee, Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba and Maurenci Gillion, did not respond to questions sent to them by City Press.

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