Parliament - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) on Wednesday condemned a call by a DA MP that the NYDA leadership should be fired.
“The NYDA wishes to express its shock at the empty, ignorant and irresponsible comments made yesterday in Parliament by Johanna
Steenkamp, a fly by night 'young leader',” NYDA chairman Yershen Pillay said in a statement.
He was responding to 27-year old Steenkamp's maiden speech during a youth month debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Steenkamp said the NYDA was squandering money while the country's youth remained trapped in poverty.
“For the record, following the appointment of the new NYDA board by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma in March 2013, the new board set on a mission to reposition the NYDA and to make it more relevant and responsive to the needs of young people,” Pillay said.
The new vision entailed restoring credibility to the NYDA.
“As part of supporting this vision the new board put in place a number of flagship programmes including the NYDA entrepreneurship grant programme aimed at assisting young people who either want to start or expand their small businesses,” Pillay said.
“To date 589 youth owned enterprises have been supported with grant finance amounting to more than R25 million in the past year alone.”
The NYDA helped 236 young people, mostly from rural areas, through the R20 million Solomon Mahlangu scholarship fund.
“We have a long way to go as a country if these are the kind of irresponsible and ignorant 'leaders' we are going to produce,” Pillay said.
“As the NYDA we will continue to intensify our work relating to leadership development and social cohesion and possibly try to educate detractors like Ms Steenkamp.”