All of our youth should matter
During that time, the parliamentary joint sub-committee of the portfolio committee on women, youth and persons with disabilities, as well as the select committee on health and social services, announced the 30 shortlisted names of people who will be interviewed for the filling of the vacant positions of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board.
Merely glancing at the names of people who have made it to the shortlist rang a bell - that we are far from addressing the challenges our National Development Plan (NDP) to 2030 has identified as impediments towards building a capable and developmental state.
This because the list is over-populated by a majority of youth that has ties to the governing ANC and its alliance youth structures, which may be referred to as cadre deployment.
The list might as well be a reflection of dominant factions within the alliance as many other young people who are part of the ANC have not been shortlisted. The question is: should youth that are not organised into our political system be excluded?
The answer to this question lies in the NYDA Act, where it sets broad principles for youth development which the agency ought to comply with, one of which is to ensure a “promotion of equal opportunity and equal treatment of the youth” - and for sure this includes those outside the governing party.
It should be stated categorically that one does not have a problem with the youth from the governing party and its alliance being part of the shortlisted candidates should they possess the required experience and academic credentials.
The NDP states that “a deficit in skills and professionalism affects all elements of the public service undermines the morale of public servants and citizens’ confidence in the state”.
This much is consistent with Section 195 of the Constitution, where it prescribes values and principles that should guide public administration in South Africa. One of these principles states that “public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people, with employment and personnel management practices based on ability, objectivity, and fairness”.
If we are to live up to the objectives of the NYDA Act, NDP, and values and principles of our Constitution, the governing party ought to move beyond the prioritisation of youth within its ranks in the filling of the vacant positions on the NYDA board.
Youth development is sacrosanct and therefore cannot be the preserve of those within the ranks of the movement. What is encouraging is that some youth leaders, like Tlangi Mogale of the ANC national youth task team, and Fundi Skweyiya have come out loudly criticising how the list prioritised those with links to the dominant factions within the governing party.
Young people are unemployed and they see how organs of our government give preference to those that are affiliated to political parties. One day we should not be surprised should young people mobilise a revolt against the political party system, for it would have failed to represent their interests.
The governing party should lead society beyond those who are part of its structures - in that way there would be greater participation of masses of our people in government activities, because they will feel that they too matter and their views will be listened to by a government they have voted for.
* Morifi is the provincial secretary of the Young Communist League of South Africa and PhD candidate at the Tshwane University of Technology. He writes in his personal capacity.