NYDA plum post sows division
While ANC Youth League members vie for a place on the National Youth Development Agency board, its top brass are rumoured to be in conflict over who should take the position of chairperson
Competing interests within the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) over who should clinch the plum position of chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) have allegedly sparked infighting between the league’s president, Collen Maine, and secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza. This comes as youth league deputy president Desmond Moela is set to lose out on the post because he does not possess the academic qualifications required for it.
Whoever is in charge of the NYDA gets to control the R409 million budget allocated to the youth development entity.
Parliament kicked off the process of appointing the new board members in November last year, when it advertised the position by calling for applications and nominations.
City Press has learnt Maine wanted his deputy to be the next chairperson of the NYDA board, but one of the requirements for NYDA membership is a three-year degree at the very least. Moela does not have one.
According to ANCYL sources, Nzuza questioned Maine’s rationale behind lobbying for Moela, who did not possess a single degree.
Moela’s highest academic qualification is a matric certificate, but he is pursuing a diploma in public management through the University of SA and is expected to complete it in 2017.
His CV reveals that he also holds a certificate in supply chain management from Pro-Active College in Pretoria.
Sources claim Nzuza believes the nominees of the ANCYL should be highly qualified to avoid embarrassing the league.
In another twist to the ANCYL differences, it has now emerged that the powerful KwaZulu-Natal structure is pushing an alternative candidate for the top NYDA post: national executive committee (NEC) member Bavelile Hlongwa.
“It is not because she is from KwaZulu-Natal, but rather that she is competent, she is a woman, she is well read,” said an ANCYL member from that province.
Hlongwa graduated in 2011 with a BSc in chemical engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The NYDA’s management and director ranks have been dominated by the Young Communist League (YCL), whose chairperson, Yershen Pillay, has chaired the NYDA board for the past three years.
This has caused disgruntlement within the ANCYL and led to their determination to push for a takeover of the NYDA. The term of the current NYDA board ends next month and a process to appoint a new board has begun in Parliament, but it has been subject to various delays. Three meetings that were scheduled to shortlist candidates for interviews have been postponed over the past two weeks, with the last meeting – which was scheduled to take place on February 2 – postponed for lack of a quorum. City Press has heard Maine felt undermined as president and that he worked more closely with Moela, but that it seemed like the power in the league was seen to be centralised in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The presidency and secretaries are betraying each other. Nzuza works with his deputy, Thandi Moraka, from Limpopo and Collen works with Desmond [Moela]. The treasurer, Reggie Nkabinde, is at the centre.
“But if the secretary and the president are not in agreement, as is the case now, the process gets frustrated,” said a league leader.
However, a Gauteng regional leader dismissed as “malicious rumours” talk that cracks were widening in the ANCYL’s top structure, although he did admit there had been concerns “at some point” about too many people from KwaZulu-Natal being incorporated into the ANCYL NEC – and about these committee members being deployed in strategic positions.
Another source from KwaZulu-Natal said it was not necessarily true that Maine and Nzuza were fighting, but that Maine was “very weak” and Nzuza was a “very strong character”.
“The president does not inspire confidence. He is weak and people flock to Nzuza when they want something,” said the source.
He said this was why it would appear as if Maine was being undermined, which was not really the case.
City Press can reveal that Parliament has received 117 applications for the seven seats on the board.
Parliament documents reveal that 11 ANCYL members were nominated from Luthuli House by Thamsanqa Sibiya, who is the coordinator of the ANCYL’s NEC and national working committee. Their letters of nomination were signed by Nzuza. Among them are Moela and Hlongwa’s names.
Other national youth league leaders whose names are up for consideration are Thulani Tshefuta, who is also a leader for the SA Youth Council; Thembinkosi Josophu; Sipho Diale; Joy Maimela; Bigo Mathe; Ntombi Koloti; Mbasa Satyi; Andriehetha Jacobs; and the league’s spokesperson, Mlondolozi Mkhize.
Nzuza denied there were tensions between him and other leaders. “There is no fighting pertaining to the NYDA. The most important thing is that the ANCYL is not tasked with adverts for the NYDA and, therefore, it cannot be a source of conflict.
“We are a political organisation; that is all we are. There is absolutely no tension within the ANCYL.”
Nzuza said his relationship with Maine, whom he referred to as a friend, was rock solid. Maine simply said he sticks by what Nzuza said. Incumbent NYDA chairperson Pillay has been nominated by, among others, the YCL.
YCL secretary Mluleki Dlelanga said Pillay was the perfect man for the job and was well qualified.
He said the YCL was not worried about the three-year degree requirement because “we have been the ones who were calling for the youth of our country to make education fashionable. Therefore, we call on others to adhere to the requirements of the advert.”