The NDP's our roadmap but no-one's behind the wheel - Michael Cardo

DA MP says that instead we have backseat drivers in the form of COSATU and the SACP

Speech by DA's Shadow Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Dr Michael Cardo MP, during the budget vote debate on Performance, Monitoring & Evaluation & StatsSA, Parliament, July 21 2014

Time to kiss the National Youth Development Agency goodbye

21 July 2014

Honourable Chairperson,

The National Development Plan (NDP) is our roadmap to the future: a society with more jobs and less poverty.

And, yet, two years after Parliament, Cabinet, and broad sections of civil society endorsed the Plan, we seem to be stuck on the side of the road. 

We hear about the implementation of the NDP, but we do not see it.

Why? The roadmap isn't the problem. The problem is that we have no-one behind the steering wheel. Instead, we have backseat drivers in the form of Cosatu and the SACP. 

They want to steer us on another course - the course of the national democratic revolution (the NDR). 

The NDR is the path of more state intervention, economic decay and unemployment.

The NDP is the path of more freedom, growth and jobs.

Last month, in the State of the Nation debate, the Honourable Minister Radebe said:

"Capacity is being created in the Presidency to carry out thorough socio-economic impact assessments of both new and existing legislation and regulations, in order to ensure alignment with the NDP and reduce the risk of unintended consequences."

Two weeks later, the President assented to the Property Valuation Bill and the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. 

Both these laws contradict the NDP. They disregard the roadmap and take us down a dead-end.

We know exactly what their consequences will be. Like the new immigration regulations, they will reduce economic growth, increase unemployment, scare off foreign investment and create policy uncertainty.

Chairperson, the Presidency sits at the apex of government. It is responsible for policy coherence. So the Honourable Minister and Deputy Minister have a critical role to play. 

They must assert the NDP's supremacy as an overriding policy blueprint. They must stare down opposition to the plan from the ruling party's alliance partners. Otherwise, the NDP will fail, and this budget will go to waste.


Because Vote 6 is so crucial to the realisation of the National Development Plan, we must prioritise its allocations accordingly.

In 2014/15, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has been allocated R408 million. This is three and half times more than the allocation to the National Planning Commission Secretariat (at R113 million). And it is nearly double the allocation to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (at R208 million).

This makes no sense.

The NYDA has a history of fraud, corruption, and irregular and wasteful expenditure. It is pathologically profligate. 

And yet every year we entrust it with more public funds.

The Chairperson of the NYDA claims to have embarked on a "turnaround strategy". He says the Agency's vision is to deliver "as many opportunities as is possible with our available resources to the youth of South Africa".

Yet the NYDA spends R189 million of its R408 million grant on salaries. That is almost 50 per cent of its "available resources" on feeding a bloated bureaucracy, not providing opportunities for the youth. 

The wage bill at the NYDA is almost as much as the entire allocation for Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. It outstrips the NPC Secretariat's whole budget by some margin.

Time and again, though, the NYDA has shown that it cannot be trusted with public money.

In 2013, the Auditor-General found that the Agency's irregular expenditure amounted to R195 million over two years, and that it was unlikely to recover R212 million in loans.

In 2010, the NYDA wasted over R100 million on a kissing competition dressed up as the "World Festival of Youth".

Chairperson, the NYDA pays lip service to youth development. We should kiss it goodbye. 

But the Honourable Deputy Minister wants to amend the National Youth Development Agency Act. He wants to give the Agency greater powers to co-ordinate and implement youth development at provincial level.

Honourable Manamela should take a leaf out of the DA-run Western Cape Government's Youth Development Strategy instead.

This strategy is based on the NDP.

It prioritises education and training, with an innovative after-school programme and a youth service programme. And it promotes economic participation, with a range of employment and internship opportunities for first-time job-seeking youth. 

These include the Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) Project and the Work and Skills Programme, a variant of the youth wage subsidy. 70% of participants have been kept on as permanent employees after completing the programme.


According to the World Economic Forum Global Risk 2014 report, South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for youth between the ages of 15 to 24, behind Greece and Spain, at 50%.

A recent Stats SA report found that the unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 34 increased from 32.7% to 36.1% between 2008 and 2014. 

Yet in 2014/15, the NYDA will spend only roughly 10% of its grant on its "Economic Participation" programme. And it will spend only roughly 10% of its grant on its "Education and Skills Development" programme.

Meanwhile, Honourable Manamela is, to quote him on the Employment Incentive Act, "firmly opposed to (the) youth wage subsidy". 


If we are to use the NDP as our roadmap, we should channel the NYDA's budget into the youth wage subsidy, structured youth development programmes, and bursaries for educational opportunities.

And we should pass laws that promote opportunities, growth and jobs.

If we don't - if we choose the NDR - we will be destined for more policy incoherence, more poverty and more unemployment.

I thank you. 

Issued by the DA, July 21 2014

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