Social entrepreneur, activist, youth and community practitioner Masonwabo Fuma from Komani is running to serve on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board after its previous board was dissolved.
This means the organisation has had to survive for more than a year without a board to conduct oversight.
Fuma said the applications were sent in 2019.”About 700 applications were received. 30 people were interviewed and the final seven were recommended to serve on the board of NYDA at the beginning of 2020. However due to discrepancies in that process, the recommended board was dissolved.”
Last month, applications were advertised again for youth with a vision for the youth development.
”I have since raised my hand to serve on this prestigious board.” His experience stems from his involvement in youth and community development projects in various organisations over the last eight years.
Fuma said these were coupled with his international experience, interest and passion for entrepreneurship which sparked an interest in applying to serve.
”I wish to bring the agency’s resources to where they matter most,” he added.
He said there was an urgent need for youth to intervene and be involved in the government organ – for young, skillful, experienced, well-educated and knowledgeable young people with an idea of how the youth development should look.
”The national youth policy is currently being drafted with a NYDA that has no board. NYDA will be expected to implement the same policy they were not a part of. This raises eyebrows for me.”
The change Fuma aims to bring if he is appointed is to start by aligning NYDA programs with other
government programs and to ensure that the agency’s resources reach deserving youths in South African townships and rural areas.
His other objectives include introducing accountability of resources and to prioritise investment in youth cooperatives, cooperative education and cooperative philosophy.
Prioritising partnerships with major retailers for access to markets for local entrepreneurs and
cooperatives was also on his agenda and he suggested the funding model, from grants to loans, needed to be changed.
“Generally, the name loan has a negative connotation, but it makes sense to give a much larger loan to young people so that they are able to implement and run their businesses without shortfalls. It must have a ripple effect with a long term commitment to realise an economic revolution for young people.”
He would push to maximise youth development and reinstate the office of NYDA to the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund status.
“It must not report to the department of women, youths and persons with disability, but to the presidency. Youth issues are cutting across all departments, so it makes sense to have it under the presidency.”