By Jessie Taylor
A new piece of legislation will look to improve the effectiveness of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in addressing the challenges faced by South Africa’s youth.
The National Youth Development Agency Amendment Bill has been championed by the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities, to optimise the service delivery of the NYDA. The NYDA focuses on economic development through youth entrepreneurship and employment and addresses development issues in all three spheres of government.
Addressing challenges faced by youth
Youth represent more than a third of the South African population, yet they face numerous challenges – including a shockingly high unemployment rate, lack of equal access to education, poverty and crime.
To improve the lives of young people, the NYDA designed and implements policies and programmes to address the challenges unique to South African youth. The agency represents young people’s interests and ensures they are prioritised at the government level and strives to create more opportunities for the youth.
To ensure the NYDA continues to deliver this important service, the new legislation will shift the NYDA’s mandate further towards initiating, designing, and piloting socio-economic programmes that empower youth. These programmes would be implemented by the NYDA, state agencies, the private sector organisations and civil society organisations.
Some of the key programmes include the National Youth Service, youth entrepreneurship development and support, youth advisory and information services, and the issuing of grants.
The legislation is an important milestone for youth development in our country, says NYDA Executive Chairperson Ms. Asanda Luwaca.
The amendment comes after extensive consultations were done with various stakeholders. During these consultations, young people proposed that the NYDA Act 2008 needed to widely address the challenges young people face, says Ms. Luwaca.
“We are excited at the changes that have been made. The current Act provides a legislative framework for the provision of the National Youth Service, support towards youth economic participation, and youth advisory and information services. As the Agency we would like to encourage all young people to be part of the consultative processes that influence policy changes in the country.”
Harnessing the potential of youth
Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says the legislation has been tabled with Parliament. Further legislation – including the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, as well as the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the National Youth Policy 2030 – is expected to be submitted to Cabinet soon.
“These will enable us to monitor the implementation of the National Youth Policy across all sectors. We must harness the potential of our youthful population. This includes the political will by government and captains of industry to ensure an integration of youth across all strategic sectors of our society, especially the economy,” says Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
In the 2022/2023 financial year, the NYDA will aim to train more than 25 000 young people to be youth entrepreneurs. It will also provide 2 000 youth-owned enterprises with financial assistance through the NYDA grant programme. These enterprises will go on and create 6 000 jobs in the economy, said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
In addition, 75 000 young people will be provided with skills development programmes to enable them to enter the economy and 10 000 young people to be placed in jobs through the National Pathway Management Network.
What are the proposed amendments in the NYDA Amendment Bill?
The Amendment Bill aims to address the challenges that have arisen in implementing the National Youth Development Agency Act of 2008. The amendments to the legislation aim to ensure the agency functions more efficiently and is able to form better partnerships to build a skilled labour force and increase entrepreneurship support to create new opportunities for the youth.
The following are proposed in the Amendment Bill:
- Aligning the NYDA with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
- Allowing for the Cabinet member responsible for youth development to administer the NYDA Act instead of the President
- Increase the visibility of the NYDA, especially in rural areas
- Shifting the focus on the NYDA’s mandate to optimise and intensify service delivery. This would see a shift away from the current mandate of policy development, design and implementation of interventions, coordination and monitoring and evaluation. The amended mandate would focus on initiating, designing, and piloting socio-economic programmes that empower youth
- Establishing NYDA offices at the provincial and local levels
- Give clarity on the NYDA’s role in relation to other key role players within the youth development sector
- Extending the term of office of the Board from three to five years and increasing the number of Board members from seven to ten
- The establishment, at the discretion of the Board, of Board committees such as an 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.