NYDA vows to establish projects despite low budget

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cape Town - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is ready to establish provincial structures despite budget constraints, the agency's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steven Ngubeni said on Wednesday.

The agency, which is currently on an operational budget of R930 million this financial year, has requested R1 billion from the National Treasury.

Asked if the agency's programmes were targeted at certain groups, Ngubeni said the agency would benefit South African youth across the racial line.

"It must be clear that the NYDA belongs to the youth of this country and not just the political party," he said.

He called for a "collaborative integration" from all the sectors of the country to support its youth.

On the progress of the road shows that the agency is undertaking, chairman Andile Lungisa said he had visited the nine provinces where he met with Premiers, MECs, officials from government, municipalities, civil society and political youth organizations on the establishment of the NYDA structures.

"I can confidently say that the provincial consultations were a huge success. The inputs that we received from various role players have been an eye opener in as far as understanding the different challenges affecting young people."

Lungisa said from the consultations, the agency had gathered enough input from young people which would give them a clear direction.

"Having listened to the inputs by young people through organised structures we were also able to get an understanding of their needs in the different communities. With a better understanding we are now in a position to respond accordingly," explained Lungisa.

Among some of the issues raised by the youth in the provinces was more access to the NYDA and other developmental opportunities at provincial and local level.

They also called for broadening access to education and technical skills development with youth representatives calling for the establishment of universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape as well as meaningful participation of young persons with disabilities was also advocated for.

Lungisa said the NYDA has outlined its key performance areas as unemployment, skills shortage, crime and HIV and AIDS, among the challenges faced by the country's youth.

According to Lungisa, the agency has started getting requests from youth who want to be part of the agency's newly introduced remedial programme for pupils who have failed Grade 12.

The project will start with 30 000 pupils from all nine provinces and focus on those who had failed at least three subjects.

At a cost of R135 million, the project will run in 56 centres in all provinces.

"Though the project we will incorporate a skills development, language improvement and study skills improvement programme in order to prepare participants for the world of work or higher education," Lungisa said.

Other programmes include the establishment of NYDA Provincial Advisory Boards.

Adverts for the NYDA Provincial Advisory Boards will be issued before the end of December 2009. The agency has called on all eligible organisations to forward names of young people to serve on the board.

The Provincial Advisory Boards will consist of seven members; two full-time and five part-time members who will mainly play a lobby and advocacy role.

Meanwhile, the final leg of the NYDA road shows will take place in the Western Cape today. Lungisa said it will be marked with the launch of an National Youth Service (NYS) project in Mitchell's Plain as part of the drive by NYDA to recruit about 500 000 young people into the NYS by April 2010.