DA asks NYDA where is the R2.7 billion youth fund?

Lorraine Botha MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Premier

During a Standing Committee meeting on Premier on Tuesday, 30 September 2014, it was revealed that a news article released by SAnews.gov.za, R2.7 Billion youth Fund Launched (18 August 2014) was misleading.

The Standing Committee on Premier in the Western Cape invited the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to brief the committee on the R2.7 billion youth fund launch which took place on 5 August 2014 in Langa, as reported by the misleading news article. The article reported that “the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) have launched a R2.7-billion Youth Fund aimed at creating millions of sustainable jobs. The launch took place at Langa township in Cape Town, on Friday (5 August 2014)”.

Initially, I was both pleased and heartened that youth employment and skills development was so generously prioritised, especially in the Western Cape. I was interested to be made aware, from an informed perspective on the details pertaining to the fund, its successes, challenges and impact it will have on the youth of the Western Cape, considering that the launch took place in Langa. Instead of the requested information on the R2.7 billion youth fund launch in Langa, to my dismay, the NYDA briefed the committee on the general background and objectives of their agency.

It surfaced that the R2.7 billion youth fund is not a new initiative and has been in operation since April 2013. This subsequently means that there no longer exists a R2.7 billion fund as it has already been used. It also became clear that the fund is not specifically allocated to Langa or the Western Cape as the article alludes, but that it was a national fund which caters to the whole country. What was also shocking, yet not surprising, is that NYDA did not allocate any sum of money to the fund. Collectively, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) contributed R1.7 billion and R1 billion, respectively, towards the R2.7 billion youth fund.

The question then arises, “why would this article create the illusion that the R2.7 billion fund was a new initiative from the NYDA to redress youth unemployment in the Western Cape, when this is certainly not the case?”

The DA in the Western Cape is disappointed that NYDA has raised false hope for so many of the Western Cape’s young entrepreneurs. The revelations of this briefing substantiates what our national counterparts have been long reiterating, “Instead of ploughing resources into economic participation and skills development programmes for the youth, the NYDA is more interested in ploughing fat pay cheques into the back pockets of its top- and senior managers”. The NYDA 2013/14 Annual Report was tabled in National Parliament on the same day as this briefing and it revealed that:

  • R168.5 million of its R393 million state grant (or 43%) on salaries for 386 employees, which equates to an average personnel cost per employee of over R436 000;
  • An average salary for a top management position is R1.6 million;
  • Almost R21 million was spent on salaries for its bloated complement of 19 senior managers, at an average personnel cost per employee of nearly R1.1 million.

The DA will not tolerate the exploitation of youth development funding, which are attributed to tax payers’ money as a disguise to cover the NYDA’s misappropriations of funds for personal gains. We will continue to monitor the agency’s operations and hold them accountable to their national mandate in the Western Cape. The DA is committed to creating an open opportunity society in which people can live lives they value. This is especially evident in the Western Cape and where we govern. The Premier’s Advancement of Youth epitomises this commitment. The DA is more interested in the lasting impacts our initiatives have on youth than simply ticking boxes.