The Era of ANC Patronage and Cadre Deployment Must End for Young South Africans to Prosper

Today the young people of ActionSA took our #DissolveTheNYDA Campaign into a higher gear by picketing at the Office of the Minister for Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to demand the dissolution of this ANC patronage network with immediate effect.

Successive ANC-led governments have clearly resolved that young people must suffer in order to get education, only for them to end up with limited career developmental opportunities. Meanwhile the NYDA has been squandering its limited resources. This is unacceptable.

We have therefore presented a memorandum of demands to the Minister Nkoana- Mashabane’s Office, as the Cabinet Member responsible for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

The NYDA, which was established to facilitate interventions in these areas, is not functioning as intended and the overwhelming majority of people who derive some benefit out of it are those aligned to the governing ANC’s Graduate School of Corruption, the ANC Youth League, and its affiliates.

We find that 27 years into freedom democracy, young people of South Africa are excluded from the economy. Young people are pressed from all sides, trapped in over 60% unemployment; the successive Workers’ Days that have come and gone over the years, have been painful reminders of the heart-breaking conditions young people face in South Africa. The same will be true tomorrow.

NYDA has done nothing to remedy this state of affairs, have wasted the resources allocated or youth development. In fact, the agency wrote off R1.5 billion of taxpayer money in unrecoverable loans from the year it was created in 2009 and 2018/19 – almost half of its budget.

In the same period, the agency spent almost R1.5 billion of taxpayer money on salaries and directors’ fees for service delivery whose efficacy even the Presidency cannot independently verify. In The Presidency’s Twenty Year Review of 2014, it states that the “NYDA…is not visible, efficient and effective to the extent that its establishment has not been followed by specific advancements and youth development patterns.”

Apart from the gross mismanagement of the NYDA, it has also been used as an ANC cadre deployment agency and patronage network.

All of the Agency’s past chairpersons (Andile Lungisa, Yershen Pillay, and Steven Mtsweni) were appointed whilst serving as senior office-bearers in the ANCYL and its alliance partners. Not only are they “Politically Connected”, they are and were the politicians themselves. Previous CEO’s and CFO’s follow the same pattern, as do non-executive directors.

These glaring facts aside, the Minister recently made a demonstrably false claim to Parliament about the NYDA, saying the agency is NOT an employment agency for those who are politically connected.

The young people of ActionSA are therefore demanding the following;

  • The NYDA must be dissolved with immediate effect.
  • The Minister must call and hold an urgent conference of young people by the end of May, to seek the views of young people of South Africa, not just the ANCYL, and determine the modality of the new mechanism which will replace NYDA.
  • The Minister must announce the establishment of the mechanism on or by 16 June 2021.
  • The Minister must ensure that within 7 calendar days from today, the NYDA must publish the names of all the business and company owners who the Agency has funded since 2009 to date.
  • The Minister must ensure that within 7 calendar days from today, the NYDA must publish the names of all the Agency’s employees and directors since 2009 to date!
  • The Minister must apologise to the Nation for lying to Parliament about the Cadre Deployment in the NYDA.

If the Minister fails to deliver on these demands, we will consider our options for her breach of the Executive Ethics Act and Code, and call for her summary removal from Cabinet.

If she is removed and the next minister also does not deliver, we will demand their removal as well.

We will agitate for the removal of any and every Minister, Cabinet and Administration which does not put the interests of young people first!