EXCLUSIVE: Mtsweni Determined To Turn The Agency Around

PICTURE: Mail Media

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Board of Directors marked a year anniversary in office on the 05th of May 2018. Achieving its objectives above all set targets. Board Executive Chairperson, Sifiso Mtsweni was full of praise for the entire leadership of the agency.

Speaking to the Republic Mail, Mtsweni said “We have taken the NYDA off the boardroom, strengthened governance and continue to reposition the agency which has been our objective since taking over last year.”

“Out Of Boardroom”

The agency will be next month, celebrating its achievements and ushering into new objectives when they host President Cyril Ramaphosa in our annual Youth Month commemoration. Part of what the agency has achieved since taking over from the previous board was to set new branches across the country.

“We have set up new branches across the country. We now have a branches in Delmas (Mpumalanga), Richards Bay and eMpangeni in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). We will be launching new offices in Eastern Cape soon,” Mtsweni said.  

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“We have managed to open mobile apps, offices and we will soon be partnering with Thusong Centres across the country to ensure that we reach millions of young people,” he said.

Many have criticized the agency for not focusing on young people as mandated by government but Mtsweni rubbishes his critic. He said “We have been visiting NYDA offices in all regions to ensure that young people received necessary help and given opportunities.”

He added that the agency will continue to champion the interest of young people.

“Strengthening Governance”

Considering the state of other government agencies, Mtsweni believes that the board has been on top of its game since taking over. They have achieved a clean audit as pronounced by Auditor General and he is adamant that they will maintain the audit opinion until the end of tenure.

“We have achieved a clean audit, appointed the youngest Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in Africa and highly skilled and competent employees in right positions to ensure that we maximise our output as an agency. Having right people in place has helped us to pay our service providers within 30 days, we have created close to 10 000 jobs.” he said.

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The NYDA headquarters which were in Midrand have now moved to Woodmead. According to Mtsweni, the move will save the agency an estimated R12 million per annum and R40 million over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. 

“Repositioning the Agency”

The agency is hoping to mobilise the private and public sectors to ensure youth has 40 per cent representation and they are also plan scrapping the entry level experience requirement for young people in all jobs.

“We will call for quotas in both public and private sectors as a way of pushing for 4o per cent representation of the youth.

“We believe the entry level experience are a barriers to young people and we will call for government and private sector to scrap it,” Mtsweni said.

Mtsweni also added that they will be going rural to as they repositioned the agency as they are committed to transform young people’s lives.

“It’s within our strategy that we reach the rural footprints. We are targeting Limpopo, KZN, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape,” he said.

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The NYDA also remains the pillar in the developmental agenda in the country. Delivering her budget speech, Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reaffirms government commitment in ensuring that the agency plays a pivotal role in our society.

“We will continue to work closely with the [NYDA] to augment youth development in the country. The NYDA is central in government’s strategy of empowering young people and thus establishing a firm foundation for the future of our country,” she said.

She also emphasized on the importance of the agency as the epicentre of government planning, and that the role of the NYDA is paramount.