New NYDA board ready to serve

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pretoria - The newly appointed National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Board says it will focus its energy on reaching out to more young people around the country.

NYDA Executive Chairperson Sifiso Mtshweni on Thursday outlined the strategic focus and direction of the newly appointed board for the duration of their term.

He said key strategic areas that the board will focus on include taking the NYDA back to the young people and to see more branches established across the country.

“We will be launching three new offices in the near future,” said Mtshweni.

The board will also focus on rebranding the agency to reflect the character of the youth of today and improve the communications strategy to make sure it speaks the language of the youth and resonates with them. The board will meet with all youth formations to present the agency’s plans and get their buy in for the Youth Month programme.

“We all understand that collaboration in youth development is key,” Mtshweni said.

He said the new board will also speed up the process of amending the NYDA Act from Section 75 to Section 76 to enable the agency to establish Provincial Boards of the NYDA.

“As part of our mission to mainstream youth development in all sectors of society, we will convene all Youth Directorates and Youth Units in provincial and local governments so that we align youth development programmes into one.

“This will assist the NYDA to play a coordination role. We will convene a summit that will speak to this process,” he said.

Mtshweni said the board will also lobby government and the private sector to deal with the issue of youth set-asides.

“When you look at government contracts/business for instance, at least 30% must be allocated to the youth.”

Other key focus areas include challenging government and the private sector to ensure that at least 40% of the workforce must be youth graduates.

“We have a crisis of youth graduates in the country that are not employed. We are not happy about the budget that has been allocated to the NYDA, we feel that more can be done. We will engage with the National Treasury. But we understand that we need to be creative with what we have.”

Establishing youth, skill funds

The board also plans to support youth enterprises further than what the NYDA is currently doing, and it is looking at establishing a youth fund and a skills fund.

With regards to the youth fund, Mtshweni said the board is looking at engaging government and the private sector to pledge funds and make investment into the fund.

“The funds will be used to fund youth owned enterprises that need funding to grow that falls outside of what the NYDA Grant Fund R100 000 threshold.”

On the skills fund, Mtshweni said the board will engage the SETAs and Department of Labour to set a fund that will deal with the skilling and training of artisans. He said both funds must raise at least R1 billion each.

“We are looking at a model that will have an Investment Committee that will sit and review funding requests from young people. The committee would be made up of members from all the stakeholder to ensure good governance and that the funds go where they are supposed to, which is to the young people.”

He said the Investment Committee will be made up of people from both public and private sector that understand and have experience in funding businesses.

Youth Month

As part of Youth Month, Mtshweni said the agency will also be meeting with young people in the arts and culture space.

“We were supposed to meet with actors, musicians, dancers etc. to engage them on the challenges they are facing in this space. We also want to look into sports and recreation. We want to meet with young people in different sporting codes and try and understand the challenges that they face in the industry.

“We will also look into issues that are faced by young people in the space of sports and recreation. We will be meeting with soccer and rugby stars to try and get to understand the issue they face.”

In terms of the NYDA as an organisation, he said the board is committed to maintaining prudent financial management and to retain the clean audit.

“We acknowledge that the Executive of the NYDA has done well and as a result, the Board is not looking to replace anyone in the team. We are not looking into changing a system that works.

“We will also focus more on performance output and make sure that they are made public so that the public knows what we are doing.” - SAnews.gov.za

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