Xiluva calls on NYDA’s board to release report against CEO

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) CEO Waseem Carrim has been accused of refusing to release an investigation report into his allegations of corruption. Picture: Noni Mokati

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) CEO Waseem Carrim has been accused of refusing to release an investigation report into his allegations of corruption. Picture: Noni Mokati

Published Dec 10, 2023

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A NEWLY formed political party, Xiluva, has called on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board to release the report looking into allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds against CEO Waseem Carrim.

The party said the report should be released immediately.

Xiluva leader Bongani Baloyi said time has elapsed since the investigation was initiated while the public is still waiting for the report.

The investigation was launched last year after a whistle-blower at the agency brought the allegations forward against Carrim.

On Wednesday, Baloyi said it was cause for concern that Carrim may have had the opportunity to interfere with the investigation while still working.

He said the resignation of the chairperson of the Audit and Risk Committee, who resigned in November 2022, was questionable and raised eyebrows about the relationship between the investigations and Carrim’s presence.

“More investigations have surfaced about an irregular tender for the relocation of the NYDA offices. Carrim has been accused of deviating from tender specifications and processes and has instructed the agency to approve a building allegedly owned by his associates and friends that does not meet the requirements,” Baloyi said.

Sources in the NYDA said Carrim was allegedly handed the report but has refused to release it.

The report was also looking into allegations against him of fraudulent activities.

The sources said this was shocking because the investigation was instituted to look into his shenanigans; this was the reason there has never been any action taken against him.

Among the allegations against Carrim was that he spent close to R5 million on a Youth Month event presented on a 2020 Webinar. It was also alleged that he spent more than R20 million to buy branded material for National Youth Service participants.

The whistle-blower also alleged that the offices rented in Woodmead were procured from Carrim’s churchmate, costing R3.9 million a year for 10 years.

Numerous efforts to reach Carrim for comment drew a blank, as he had communicated through his spokesperson that he would respond by the close of business last Friday. No further communique was forwarded.

Meanwhile, the sources also claimed that Carrim allegedly rejected experienced staff in the communications department and favoured former Transport spokesperson Lwazilwaphesheya Khoza as communication manager. This, they said, was a recipe for disaster because Khoza was an intern in 2020 before she moved to the Department of Transport.

They said she has allegedly received salary increases several times since she was appointed.

When reached, Khoza denied all the allegations. “I have received no salary increase or promotion since joining the NYDA in May.”

Carrim was also accused of appointing an ICT project manager permanently without a “cooling off” period.

Carrim was also accused of nepotism and purging some employees to benefit his associates.

The sources also expressed their dissatisfaction with how the investigation was conducted, saying Carrim was still working during that time.

“We feel we are being taken for fools, especially because the report was handed to him,” said the sources.

The investigation was established to also look into the millions that Carrim spent during June 2020, when the country was on Covid-19 lockdown.

It was also looking into Carrim’s collusion with one of the directors he counter-offered with a fraudulent letter from Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (Chieta), offering her the position of executive manager in corporate services.

According to the sources, the position was never advertised and her salary was increased to R400 000 in three years. However, it has been alleged that she was forced to resign after her relationship with Carrim allegedly fell apart.

This was over the lease agreement of the new building she refused to sign for after the contract with the current office expired.

Other allegations include:

  • Having affairs with some of the junior staff members. This was after it had been alleged that he had given one of his girlfriends a manager position.
  • Changing the organisational structure multiple times in a short period to purge unwanted officials to benefit his “a**-lickers and mistress” and those who are enabling to loot money from the agency instead of impacting youths’ lives.
  • Awarding financial rewards to favourites in meetings without clear procedures or qualification processes.
  • Fraudulent reporting of business awarded with funds during 1000 business campaign in 2020.

The allegations were also brought to the attention of the Public Protector, the Presidency, and Parliament.

In an email sent in April last year, the staff requested a lifestyle audit against Carrim, board members and bid adjudication committee members.

The staff, who said they feared for their lives, said Carrim and his executives had allegedly been on a witch-hunt since the emails were sent. He has allegedly been harassing employees who are suspected of raising matters regarding these allegations.

Asked for comment, Public Protector spokesperson Ndili Msoki confirmed receipt of the complaint, adding that it was investigated.

“A notice in terms of Rule 41(1) of the Public Protector rules was delivered to the complainant on May 12, 2023. This notice is issued when an investigation is likely to be closed and provides affected and implicated persons an opportunity to respond thereto.

No response was received from the complainant. After the prescribed days to respond to the notice elapsed, the matter was finalised and closed as unsubstantiated on August 25, 2023. The closing report was delivered to the complainant that same day,“ Msoki said.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo promised to respond, but had not at the time of compiling this report.

Sipho Mbele, spokesperson for Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, referred questions to the spokesperson for the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Lorraine Shabangu.

Shabangu referred the query to director-general Mikateko Maluleke, who said the chairperson of the NYDA board said they had produced legal documentation and an advisory from an external entity, and the process of conducting due diligence, which would consider all information and documentation relevant to the whistle-blowing reports, has ensued.

“The board will be appraised with an interim report setting out the service provider’s initial findings, recommendations, and proposed remedial actions. The board will make that report available to the minister upon receiving it,” he said.

Some members of staff said the investigation did not stop Carrim’s shenanigans, adding that he has been consistent.

They said he allegedly awarded a transport agency Ultimate Travel, which is owned by Matsholo Monyakane – who is related to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Matsholo’s husband, Moshe Motshekga, confirmed that they were related to Minister Motshekga but she had no influence in their businesses.

Responding to the questions via an email, Matsholo said the allegations were baseless and meant to tarnish the image and reputation of both Minister Motshekga, Ultimate Travel and herself.

“I know Minister Motshekga as I am married to a Motshekga. The minister is my aunt-in-law. Any activities between Ultimate and NYDA are in terms of a competitive process which led to the appointment of Ultimate Travel as a service provider.

“Our track record is self-explanatory … spanning more than 20 years in the industry, and that relationship, like any other, is that of a service provider and client,“ she said.

She said she was not aware of the relationship between Minister Motshekga and Carrim, adding that in the unlikely event of such relationship existing, which is denied, it has never directly or indirectly benefited Ultimate Travel.

Matsholo said it is denied that there was any procurement sourced by NYDA from Ultimate Travel which is not compliant with objective procurement requirements.

“Any pricing or quantum of such procurement would depend on the level of services required and would be priced in terms of the existing and agreed pricing tariff. There is nothing special about whether an engagement is for R1 or R1 million,” she said.

Meanwhile, when reached, the ANC Youth League spokesperson Zama Khanyase said the youth league was a political party and the NYDA was a public entity.

“The ANCYL is not privy to any allegations or investigation levelled against the CEO … nor are were privy to any information that the public does not have access to.

“The ANCYL reiterates its commitment to leadership that embodies the values of dignity, tolerance, and responsible conduct. And that applies to all those who have been discharged with the responsibilities of leading government and its public entities,“ she said.