Opposition MPs attack youth agency

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parliament jan 28 GCIS File photo: GCIS

Parliament - The effectiveness of the National Youth Development Agency was questioned by opposition MPs during a youth day debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

A range of young MPs under the age of 30 made their maiden speeches during the debate.

Johanna Steenkamp, 27, a Democratic Alliance MP, told the house the NYDA leadership should be fired.

Partly quoting alternative rock band Nirvana's dead lead singer, Kurt Cobain, Steenkamp said: “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption therefore I, J Steenkamp am standing here as a 27-year-old... and I'm telling you the NYDA is squandering money while South Africa's youth is desperately in need of help and living in poverty.”

Steenkamp said more money should rather be pumped into bursary schemes to allow poor, deserving matriculants to pay for their higher education studies.

She called for the NYDA leadership to be fired.

National Freedom Party MP Sibusiso Mncwabe said the role of the NYDA should be reviewed.

“This is the structure that was formed to help the youth of South Africa. It is unknown to youth of rural areas and townships,” Mncwabe said.

“We only learn about this structure if there's some corruption going on.”

A fiery Mkhuleko Hlengwa from the Inkatha Freedom Party blamed the ANC government for failing the young by providing poor education and not providing them with jobs.

“You have done the youth of South Africa a major injustice...,” Hlengwa said.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves. If you don't shape up, we'll ship you out.”

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, also an MP who is under 30 years of age, accused government of being no different to the apartheid regime.

“The apartheid government needed to make sure that at all times there are masses of black people that are available in a cheap and disposable manner,” Ndlozi said.

“We call this process the process of permanent juniorisation. You trap black people as people who are constantly... begging for crumbs from the master's table”.

ANC MP Thandi Tobias fired back, accusing those in opposition benches of “behaving like kindergarten kids”.

“One of the most important things is to understand that the ANC-led government has actually invested the biggest slice of the fiscus to education. I don't know what more you want,” she said.

“How on earth do you say a developmental state that injects so much money into social development can be compared to a market-oriented state. It's a fallacy.”

Sapa


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