The National Youth Development Agency Amendment Bill: proposed key amendments.
What is the NYDA?
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is a South African-based agency established in 2008 with the objective of tackling challenges that young people face.
The NYDA derives its mandate from legislative frameworks such as the NYDA Act (54 of 2008), the National Youth Policy (2009-2014) and the draft Integrated Youth Development Strategy as adopted by the Youth Convention of 2006.
Why was the agency established?
The agency was established to be a single, unitary structure, to address youth development issues at National, Provincial and Local government level. The mission of the NYDA is to mainstream youth issues into society and facilitate youth development with all sectors of society.
Why youth development?
Young South Africans (aged 15- 34) make up just over 36% of the total population of our country. Addressing some of the challenges young people face means unlocking their potential and enabling them to be the engine of our country’s development. However, young people face many challenges. In Youth Capital’s publication, Shift, we outline the bottlenecks young South Africans face when they try to complete their education, when they look for a job and to access existing opportunities in public employment.
Objectives of the NYDA.
The NYDA is responsible for designing policies and programmes to respond to youth challenges in South Africa, and lobbies and advocates for the mainstreaming of youth development.
The NYDA was established to accomplish the following objectives:
- To represent young people and ensure that young people and youth development was prioritized by the government, private sector and civil society.
- To design and implement programmes that are aimed at improving the lives of young people.
- To create opportunities for young people.
Over the years, young South Africans have raised concerns about the political affiliation of the agency, its work, and the opportunities it has created for young people and its poor visibility in rural areas. During a feedback engagement on the draft National Youth Policy 2020-2030, hosted by Youth Capital in March 2020, a young person in our constituency shared her opinion about the agency,
“We should remove all political affiliations from structures such as the NYDA. Unfortunately, some appointments only have political ambitions, and use these structures to boost their profile and more nefarious deeds.”
Since the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities published the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Amendment Bill for comment, THIS is our time to voice our ideas and concerns.
The NYDA Amendment Bill.
The motivation for the Amendment Bill is to address the challenges that have arisen in implementation of the NYDA Act. This is being done in order to make sure that the agency works better with partners to build a highly skilled labour force and to increase entrepreneurship support, while taking advantage of technology to create new opportunities for young people.
What are the proposed amendments?
If you don’t have time to read the Amendment Bill, we have your back! Read below the proposed key amendments.
- Ensure alignment with the President’s pronouncement of the establishment of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWPD), which shifted the NYDA’s reporting line.
- Provide for administration of the NYDA Act by the Executive Authority (EA) as the Cabinet member responsible for youth development, instead of the President.
- Respond to the outcries from the public on poor visibility of the NYDA, particularly in deep rural areas.
- Optimise and intensify service delivery, by focusing the NYDA’s (current) broad mandate. The current mandate focuses on policy development, design and implementation of interventions, coordination and M&E. The amended mandate would focus on initiating, designing, and piloting socio-economic programmes that empower youth. These programmes would be implemented by the NYDA, organs of state, private sector organisations and civil society organisations. Key programmes would be the National Youth Service, youth entrepreneurship development and support, youth advisory and information services, and the issuing of grants.
- Establish NYDA offices, which offer the agency’s products and services, at provincial and district/local levels. Local offices will be managed by provincial offices.
- Clarify the role of the NYDA in relation to that of other key role players within the youth development sector.
- Extend the term of office of the Board from three to five years.
- Increase the number of Board members from seven to ten, with:
- Two members designated as non-executive Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson;
- The Chief Executive Officer, being an ex-officio* member without voting rights; and
- Two ex-officio* members without voting rights, representing the Executive Authority as Shareholder.
- Prescribe the age range eligibility for appointment of non-executive Board members with voting rights to 18-35 years old.
- Enhance good governance to ensure stability within the agency.
- Provide for the filling of Board vacancies, dissolution of the Board, and appointment of an Interim Board by the President on recommendation by the EA.
- Prescribe establishment, at the discretion of the Board, of Board committees such as: Executive Management Committee; Human Resources and Remuneration Committee; Risk Committee; Development Committee; Social and Ethics Committee; Information Communication Technology Committee; Investment Committee; and Audit Committee.
- The re-arrangement of various sections and sub-sections of the NYDA Act.
*Ex-officio means ‘from the office’. This means that the member is part of the Board on account of being the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, and will only hold this position on the Board while fulfilling the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Since the NYDA exists for the benefit of young people, it’s important that we give input into these proposed amendments. Young people are feeling the brunt of the impact COVID-19 – it has impacted their ability to access, participate in, and hold on to education and employment opportunities. The effects of pandemic will be felt for years to come. So it’s more urgent than it ever has been to put young people’s needs at the centre of the conversation.
Comments on the Amendment Bill must be sent to by no later than 15 February 2021. If you want to discuss the proposed amendments with other young people and submit youth-centred joint feedback (focused on ensuring that the eventual amendments benefit young people) with Youth Capital, join our WhatsApp chat on Tuesday, 9 February 2021.