File picture: Phill Magakoe/ANA Pictures
Despite insisting that the National Youth Development Agency had been invited to attended this past weekend’s Rainbow PUSH convention in Chicago, the only speaker from South Africa was Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

Association chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni posted pictures of himself on Facebook, in front of a podium addressing an empty room at a Chicago hotel where the convention was held.

Dlodlo addressed a plenary session on Wednesday, “Global and Africa Diaspora Investment Forum”, and later received an “International Humanitarian and Leadership Award”.

Now an agency board member says questions will be raised at the agency’s next board meeting about the cost of the the trip undertaken by Mtsweni and chief executive Khathu Ramukumba.

“We might have to be told what was the event for and why we attended an event, which is not part of our mandate,” said the board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Most board members contacted did not want to comment.

Yesterday the board member said that since the new board had been named in May, it had spent a “significant” amount on travel for members.

Last month Mtsweni demanded that the Treasury give the agency more money, complaining that R440 million for the 2017/18 financial year was not enough.

Board member Bavelile Hlongwa defended the trip, and yesterday Mtsweni boasted on his Facebook page of several agreements which had been clinched with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Among those benefits would be a “comprehensive mentorship programme” for young entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Mtsweni said the agency had also received commitment from the African Global Business Chamber for $2 million (R30m) which would go towards “youth-owned businesses”.

Cape Times