No room for political patronage in NYDA Board
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has sent a letter to Presiding Officers of Parliament about allegations that the shortlisting process for new board members at the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has been jeopardized by political patronage. This entity sits under the Presidency, and its mandate is to promote and support institutions that help develop the youth and entrepreneurship in South Africans.
OUTA’s letter follows its evaluation of legal action being brought by the South African Youth Council (SAYC) against Members of Parliament’s National Assembly, who are legally bound to act in the public interest rather than political interests. Strong allegations have surfaced and are in the public domain, which suggests the NYDA selection process is being conducted in favour of ANC National Youth Task Team’s (ANC NYTT) preferences. This is based on a letter, which OUTA has in its possession, that was sent to the ANC Deputy Secretary General on 11 May 2020 - listing persons that the ANC NYTT wants on NYDA’s board.
More specifically, SAYC alleges that majority Members of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and People with Disabilities acted on this list of names from their political directors and recommended those persons, almost verbatim, as shortlisted members of the NYDA Board. “This is obviously a concern, and OUTA believes it is important to ensure the shortlisting process for the appointment of the NYDA board members does not favour any political party or organisation,” says Matt Johnston, OUTA’s Parliamentary Engagement Officer.
Should these allegations be affirmed by a court of law, the following would apply:
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and People with Disabilities in the National Assembly would, jointly and severally, be guilty of transgressing Subsection 9 of the National Youth Development Agency Act 54 of 2008.
Parliament’s commitment to promoting and enabling genuine development of the youth and other South African minorities will come into question, bearing in mind the painful fact that our youth unemployment statistics are among the worst in the world.
The public’s lack of trust in the integrity of key appointments in the public service, especially as it pertains to the prerogative of the African National Congress (ANC) as the ruling political party in South Africa’s young democracy, will be exacerbated.
The appointment process of the NYDA Board would be rendered invalid and set aside, making the Portfolio Committee’s allegedly inauthentic shortlisting, interviewing, and deliberating process to date not only illegal – but also financially fruitless and wasteful.
To avoid such a dismal failure, OUTA is requesting the following from Parliament’s top officials:
To halt the approval and submission of current shortlisted candidates for the NYDA board.
That Parliament orders a complete review of the entire process that was undertaken to select and recommend individuals as members of the upcoming NYDA Board.
That if indeed the process was flawed as alleged, then the entire process starts again from the selection of the initial shortlist of 400 candidates.
Thereafter, disciplinary proceedings against individual Members of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and People with Disabilities who are alleged to have contravened the NYDA Act.
“Considering the President’s recent motions to eradicate corruption and patronage resulting from the deployment of party-political cadres in South Africa, OUTA believes that such maladministration deserves contempt, immediate attention and intervention from Parliament’s leadership,” Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO, added.