Youth agency managers get a grilling in Parliament

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iol news pic Steven Ngubeni NYDA GCIS National Youth Development Agency CEO Steven Ngubeni.

Shanti Aboobaker

NATIONAL Youth Development Agency senior managers, including its chief executive, Steven Ngubeni, and chief operating officer, Magdalene Moonsamy, were grilled in Parliament yesterday on the agency’s poor performance.

The body is expected to promote youth development by funding and mentoring young entrepreneurs, but it has been slammed repeatedly by opposition parties, and more recently by Auditor-General Terence Nombembe, for non-delivery.

Last year, in a damning report by Nombembe, it emerged that Nyda had incurred irregular expenditure of R133 million in the 2011/12 financial year. Nombembe found the agency’s leadership had not exercised “adequate oversight” on its financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is probing whether hosting and funding the World Festival of Youth and Students, held in Tshwane in 2010, was in the agency’s mandate, amid concerns that it improperly funded projects favoured by the ANC Youth League. Moonsamy and former Nyda board chairman Andile Lungisa are both senior youth league members, as are several other board members and senior agency staff.

Yesterday, standing committee on appropriations chairman Elliot Sogoni warned Nyda staffers that they must not lie, saying Parliament routinely carried out its own research to establish the veracity of what was presented to it.

He said he and fellow committee members were inundated with stories about the lackadaisical attitude of agency employees. “My own feedback doesn’t make me very happy,” Sogoni said. Young people flooded his constituency office with stories of being repeatedly told to return to Nyda offices or branches – but without any sign that their needs would be addressed. He threatened to name and shame those who he believed were not doing their jobs “in the future”. Everybody at Nyda “delegates”.

He said young people who came to his constituency office were discouraged from returning to the Nyda after being pushed from pillar to post

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