#DissolveTheNYDA: Minister Nkoana-Mashabane lied to Parliament

ActionSA notes blatant lies by the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with disabilies Maite Nkoana-Mashabane when she said that the NYDA is not an employment agency for those who are politically connected. Minister made this demonstrably false claim in a recent Parliamentary reply.

ActionSA maintains that NYDA is not only an employment agency, but it is also the ANC’s Graduate School of Corruption for their Youth League and alliance partners – as we will demonstrate below.

A good starting point is to note that since its inception in 2009 until the 2018/19 financial year, about R1.5 billion has been spent on salaries and Director’s fees – almost half of the Agency’s budget in that period.

So, who are these gold-plated young cadres who have delivered such amazing development for us mere mortals of young people of the Republic? Well, here is a snapshot;

  1. Andile Lungisa: The agency’s first Chairperson. Prior to the NYDA, he was the ANCYL’s Deputy President. After his term as Chair ended in 2013, he was arrested for “allegedly” being part of a group that stole R2.5 million from the Department of Arts and Culture after having promised to bring rapist and child molester R. Kelly to perform at the Nelson Mandela Sports Day concert.
  2. Yershen Pillay. Prior to the NYDA he was SRC or Student Coordinator at UCT and was once the SACP’s Young Communist League Chairperson. Government’s Super Director was on every board of the NYDA since its inception until 2020 – having been the Deputy Chair, Chairman and Non- Executive Director, in that order. He has also served on the boards of other SOE’s such as ACSA, SAFCOL and NSFAS and he is now the current CEO of CHEITA, a SETA under the Ministry of his Communist party boss, Dr Blade Nzimande.
  3. Steven Ngubeni: The Agency’s first CEO from 2009 to 2013. He was once the ANCYL’s Deputy Secretary General. In 2013 He was fired as CEO for financial misconduct. After suing and winning, the Labour Court ordered that he be reinstated, but the agency paid him out the balance of his contract instead. He is now the CEO of the Gauteng Gambling Authority – another public entity.
  4. Kenny Morolong: Deputy Chair from 2013-16. Prior to the NYDA he was an ANC activist and held several positions within the ANC and tripartite structures. In 2017 he was appointed for a second term but on the lesser non-executive director position. He is currently an ANC Member of Parliament since the 6th Parliament of 2019 and serves on the party’s Interim Provincial Council in the North West.
  5. Khathu Ramukumba CA (SA): He went from CFO to CEO in 2014 following the firing of Steven Ngubeni. He had been involved in ANCYL-ally SASCO and was once a National Task Team member of the ANCYL. He is now the CEO of the Chemicals Industries SETA – another public entity.
  6. Ndumiso Mokako was a non-executive director. He resigned in 2018. Prior to the NYDA he was a Senior Manager in the office of the Public Works MEC in Mpumalanga. He was a member of the ANC Youth League’s NEC that was disbanded in 2019. He is currently a Consulting Services Manager at Deloitte.
  7. The late Ms Bavelile Hlongwa was Deputy Chair from 2017-2020. She passed away in a collision in late 2019. Prior to the NYDA she had been a member of the ANCYL’s NEC that was dissolved in mid-2019 and was a Gas Scheduler in the private sector. At the time of her passing she was the Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy, having joined Parliament after the 2019 elections.

On top of the R1.5 billion that has been spent on salaries, another R1.5 billion has been written off as unrecoverable loans in the same period – the agency has since changed the funding model from loans to grants, but the fact that it has not had an appetite to recover the funds should give you pause for reflection as where, or to whom, the funds went. To further demonstrate the agency’s ineffectiveness, even the Presidency noted in the 2014 Twenty Year Review, that they were:

“…unable to obtain evidence to make conclusive statements about the efficacy of institutions supporting youth development. All there is at hand are anecdotes that the…NYDA, among others, is not visible, efficient and effective to the extent that its establishment has not been followed by specific advancements and youth development patterns.”

The above are part of the reason as to why we, as the ActionSA Youth Council, are calling on President Ramaphosa to #DissolveTheNYDA!

We are calling on him to dissolve the agency because instead of benefiting the youth of this beautiful Republic in general, it has facilitated high-frequency looting by the ANC’s young turks. In the spirit of “Nothing for us, without us”, and whilst we have ideas on what must replace it, we are embarking on a process to engage young people broadly to seek their views and ideas on the mechanism that should replace it.

Now, the abovementioned persons are an admittedly small sample of ANC connected high-level staff and directors of the agency, but we have no reason to doubt that the pattern does not continue in the lower ranks and we will find and reveal them as well.

In the interim, we submit that, in substance, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane has lied to Parliament, in breach of legislation and policy. We are therefore pursuing legal steps against her. She has strayed far from the guiding light of the Constitution and her Oath of Office. That cannot be acceptable any longer. We will not stand for it!