For many South Africans, the mere mention of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) conjures up a picture of a reckless band of young people who shot into fame with the events that overshadowed the 17th World Festival of Youth in December in 2010.
The NYDA hosted the youth event on behalf of South Africa. Despite its relative success, the festival was dogged by allegations of disorganisation, accommodation problems for some delegates and complaints of some delegates not getting food.
It took the two people at the helm of the NYDA to dispute some of the allegations. They were the NYDA Chairperson Andlile Lungisa and the Agency’s CEO Steven Ngubeni.
The NYDA was formed in 2009 following the dissolution of the former Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission. Its purpose is to advance youth development through guidance and support to initiatives across sectors of society and spheres of government.
Lungisa is the Executive Chairperson of the NYDA’s seven-member Board charged with the responsibility of overseeing the overall functioning of the NYDA.
He is responsible for ensuring that the Board retains effective control of the NYDA and for the implementation of the agency’s objectives as defined in the NYDA Act 54 of 2008.
This work includes monitoring the implementation of the agency’s programmes; making sure that the NYDA carries out its five-year plan and ensuring that annual reports are submitted on time to the Auditor General.
As recognition for his experience in youth development, in 2010 President Jacob Zuma appointed Lungisa to serve in the 19-member Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Council of South Africa aimed to advice government on black economic empowerment and review progress in achieving black economic empowerment.
He is as passionate about the development of the South African youth as he is about that of the youth of the continent. This became evident following his election into the Pan African Youth Union (PYU) as its Vice-President in 2008, a position he served with diligence representing the interests and aspiration of the youth of the Continent in Continental structures including the African Union. His sterling work as the Vice-President led to his election as the President of the PYU at its 3rd Congress held in Khartoum in Sudan in December 2011, a position he is holding for the next three years.
NYDA CEO Steven Ngubeni is equally passionate about youth matters. He has been at the helm of the NYDA since November 2009. Ngubeni reports to the Board of Directors and is in charge of the total management of the NYDA.
Under Ngubeni’s leadership the NYDA is refocusing its funding on micro businesses in peri-urban and rural enterprises to ensure that the creation of direct and sustainable jobs is accelerated where it is most needed.
This year, the NYDA will launch an initiative called Ithubalentsha Micro Enterprise Programme. Ithubalentsha is an IsiZulu word meaning “An Opportunity for the Youth”. The overall objective of the programme is to improve access to quality and sustainable enterprise development products and services for the youth between the ages of 18 and 35, particularly those in peri-urban and rural areas.
Under Ngubeni’s watch, the NYDA has increased its network to 144 access points across all provinces. Through these access points young aspiring and established entrepreneurs can access loans ranging from R1 000 to 5 million.