De­vel­op­ment body’s board po­si­tions like ‘a pri­vate bank for un­qual­i­fied ANCYL mem­bers’

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

Short-listed ap­pli­cants for board po­si­tions on the Na­tional Youth De­vel­op­ment Agency (NYDA) have cited strong ANC cre­den­tials, among other qual­i­fi­ca­tions, while one even tried to im­press MPs with “rev­o­lu­tional [sic] greet­ings”. All did so in the hope of get­ting the nod for a cov­eted po­si­tion in the de­vel­op­ment agency, which costs the coun­try many mil­lions of rands.

In or­der to strengthen his po­si­tion, one top ap­pli­cant, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Deputy Pres­i­dent Des­mond Moela, even boasted that he had been men­tored by ANC heavy­weights Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo.

The NYDA is the gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship youth de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive. With an an­nual bud­get of R409 mil­lion, of which R209 mil­lion went to salaries in 2015/16, it has been mired in con­tro­versy, and is be­ing per­ceived by some as the ANCYL’s pri­vate bank and em­ploy­ment agency.

The agency’s board po­si­tions have been va­cant since March last year, when the term of the out­go­ing board ended. Since then, the process of ap­point­ing a new board got stuck in ANC party pol­i­tick­ing. New ap­point­ments have seen sev­eral stops and starts over the past year.

Fol­low­ing Par­lia­ment’s dumb­ing down of re­quire­ments for seats on the seven-per­son board, for which pre­vi­ously a post-matric qual­i­fi­ca­tion was re­quired, 487 ap­pli­ca­tions were pro­cessed. These have now been whit­tled down to 14 can­di­dates. They will be in­ter­viewed on Jan­uary 25.

Con­tro­ver­sially, Par­lia­ment has dropped the re­quire­ment for a ter­tiary de­gree, stat­ing that such an aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tion was not re­quired by law. This was af­ter the ANC Youth League ap­plied in­tense pres­sure on the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee over­see­ing the process to drop the re­quire­ment.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have been op­posed to restart­ing the process, as well as to the scrap­ping of the aca­demic re­quire­ments, say­ing the lat­ter was ev­i­dence that the agency was be­ing used to de­ploy un­qual­i­fied youth league mem­bers.

“We re­ject the new date be­cause on many oc­ca­sions this Par­lia­ment was sup­posed to ap­point the NYDA board. But be­cause of in­ter­nal squab­bles in the ANC about de­ploy­ments, this process has been de­layed,” said the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu the day be­fore Par­lia­ment closed. On the same day, ANC chief whip Jack­son Mthembu pro­posed a new dead­line for the ad hoc com­mit­tee to com­plete its work.

“What this process has shown” is that the de­vel­op­ment agency is “noth­ing else but an em­ploy­ment agency for the youth league and al­liance part­ners”, said DA MP Yusuf Cas­sim.

The IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Par­lia­ment was in a state of limbo as far as the agency board was con­cerned, be­cause of the on­go­ing ten­sions in the youth league about de­ploy­ment.

“We can­not go to the in­ter­view process with names in our pock­ets. Re­quire­ments are now be­ing low­ered be­cause we want to cherry-pick in ac­cor­dance with who is ear­marked,” he said.

But the ANC’s Phile­mon Ma­pu­lane, who co-chairs the ad hoc com­mit­tee, said the com­mit­tee aban­doned pre­vi­ous pro­cesses be­cause it had been faced with “a va­ri­ety of lit­i­ga­tion [pro­cesses]”.

“We thought we should err on the side of cau­tion. This time around, we said we should not come up with any re­quire­ments that are out­side of what the act pre­scribes. That’s why we de­cided that the ad­vert should be like that,” Ma­pu­lane added.

Seats on the Youth De­vel­op­ment Board – which come with an an­nual pay packet of al­most R1.2 mil­lion for the ex­ec­u­tive board chair­per­son, just over R1.1 mil­lion for the deputy chair, and R465 000 per an­num for each of the five nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors – are highly con­tested in ANC Youth League lead­er­ship ranks, as they are seen as a gate­way to busi­ness net­works. Con­trol of the agency has also been a cause of con­flict be­tween the youth league and the Young Com­mu­nist League. Six ANCYL na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers made it into the last 14 – three of them with­out any post-matric qual­i­fi­ca­tion. (There are other youth league mem­bers on the list, but they don’t nec­es­sar­ily serve in the na­tional lead­er­ship.)

ANCYL Deputy Pres­i­dent Des­mond Moela leads the pack of his or­gan­i­sa­tion’s short-listed can­di­dates. The dumb­ing down of qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments is un­der­stood to have paved the way for Moela, whom the ANCYL wants as chair­per­son for the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand agency board de­spite his not be­ing in pos­ses­sion of a post-school qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

He was dis­qual­i­fied in the ear­lier round of nom­i­na­tion, lead­ing the ANCYL to in­sist on the low­er­ing of stan­dards.

In April 2016, a month af­ter the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ex­cluded him for lack of aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions, the youth league na­tional ex­ec­u­tive took a res­o­lu­tion that he should be in­cluded on the board.

Fol­low­ing this res­o­lu­tion, Par­lia­ment restarted the re­cruit­ment process, with­out any ex­pla­na­tion, and later dropped the re­quire­ment for a post-matric qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Moela’s CV sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment re­veals that the 34-year-old holds a cer­tifi­cate in sup­ply-chain man­age­ment from Pro-Ac­tive Col­lege. Ac­cord­ing to the col­lege’s web­site, this is a four-day course. Moela is also ex­pected to com­plete a na­tional diploma in Pub­lic Man­age­ment through Unisa this year.

His CV re­veals in­volve­ment in youth de­vel­op­ment struc­tures and stu­dent pol­i­tics since the age of 10. He cur­rently works as a di­rec­tor for hu­man re­sources at the Mpumalanga depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion.

Moela de­scribed him­self as “a trusted mem­ber of the ANC” and said that he had been men­tored by Mabuza and Mahlobo, among many other se­nior lead­ers in gov­ern­ment and the ANC.

Moela was nom­i­nated by the ANC Youth League sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Njab­ulo Nzuza.

Among his in­ter­ests, Moela listed be­ing an ac­tive sup­porter of Kaizer Chiefs. He also “loves read­ing the Bi­ble”, it was re­vealed. Zandile Myeni’s ap­pli­ca­tion let­ter ad­dressed to the ad­hoc com­mit­tee started like this: “Re­ceive my rev­o­lu­tional [sic] greet­ings.”

Myeni is a mem­ber of the Na­tional Free­dom Party (NFP). Her CV shows that she pre­vi­ously taught eco­nomics and busi­ness stud­ies at two high schools, al­beit for only four months in each school. She also says she taught at two pri­mary schools.

Myeni was picked by NFP MP Sibu­sio Mncwabe, who stated that Myeni’s CV met the check list re­quire­ments and that she pos­sessed knowl­edge, skills and ex­pe­ri­ence in lead­er­ship and “ed­u­ca­tion in the pub­lic sec­tor”.

ANC Youth League NEC mem­ber Kho­motjo Maimela, a chair­lift op­er­a­tor at the Glen­core Mo­to­tolo Mine, also earned a spot in the last 14. She pos­sesses an NCV Level 4 cer­tifi­cate in Civil En­gi­neer­ing and Build­ing, from the Mopani FET Col­lege in Pha­l­aborwa. She is now al­legedly reg­is­tered for a BA de­gree in Gov­er­nance, Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion and De­vel­op­ment at Unisa.

Also in the run­ning is the out­go­ing chair­per­son of the youth de­vel­op­ment agency, Yer­shen Pil­lay, who is also the chair­per­son of the Young Com­mu­nist League. But in­sid­ers claim he is most likely to lose out to Moela.

Pil­lay is cred­ited for turn­ing the agency around and slow­ing down its spend­thrift ways.

Kenny Moro­long, who was the deputy chair­per­son of the out­go­ing youth de­vel­op­ment board, and who is also an ANCYL mem­ber, again made the cut.

Moro­long op­posed Collen Maine’s elec­tion to the League’s pres­i­dency in 2015 and re­mains out­side the dom­i­nant fac­tion. He was in­ter­viewed in March but was dropped be­cause he lacked a post-matric qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

This was chal­lenged by Moro­long and his lawyer, the for­mer youth league deputy pres­i­dent, Ron­ald Lamola, and, faced with le­gal action, Par­lia­ment backed down.

What this process has shown is that the agency is noth­ing but an em­ploy­ment provider for the youth league

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