By Mayibongwe Maqhina Nov 12, 2020

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Cape Town – In a new twist of events, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has sought legal opinion in connection with the appointment of the board of directors for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

The appointment of the new board stalled in September after the National Assembly sent back the report recommending the candidates to serve on the board to the committee for further consideration.

This was after Modise received complaints on the selection process that was followed by the committee amid legal threats in some quarters.

On Thursday, National Assembly secretary Masibulele Xaso said when the report was sent to the committee it wrote to Modise seeking guidance on the matter.

Xaso said Modise has sought a legal opinion on the matter, which has been obtained.

“The Speaker is considering an opinion and guidance will be given on the matter in due course,” he said.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini asked when Modise would apply her mind and give an update.

“NYDA is sitting without a board. It is a very important board that can’t be left leaderless,” Ntlangwini said.

In her response, Modise confirmed she was considering an independent legal opinion.

“We will endeavour to be able to report back by the end of this week. I know the end of the week is tomorrow. If we are late by Tuesday we should be able to communicate on this matter.”

She said the national legislature has a dilemma regarding the NYDA board.

“You can let things go and have a huge barrage from the streets and be procedural about it or you can actually look at what South Africa stands for and try to find a way to make all constituencies of South Africa participate in the structures,” Modise said.

She explained that they have been looking into the fairness of the portfolio committee processes and Parliament but also fairness to individual South Africans who may be feeling left out.

“That is a dilemma we are handling and I hope that when we really come out, we will be able give guidance to protect everything and sometimes that is not the most popular guidance.”

Modise said trying to be a South African, not a party member, was very difficult.

” I am proud, deputy speaker, that I am a multiparty constituency South African. For me it is important that all constituencies, even when I disagree with them on certain things, feel equal as I do in South Africa,” she said.

“So that is a process that is engaging us . Please bear with us, Madame Ntlangwini, by Tuesday we will be responding to all parties on this matter and give guidance on it,” Modise said.

Independent Media reported last week that Modise said they were considering establishing an ad hoc committee on the appointment of the NYDA board afresh.

She was quoted as saying the NYDA matter was complicated in the sense that there was contention that the processes were correctly followed.

“The matter is contested by various parties who are threatening to take us to court. As I said in the last meeting, fewer people are in defence of the process,” she said.

“The correct thing to do is to review the process taking into consideration what every complaint that is placed before us is saying and in that process being sensitive to the vacuum we talk about,” Modise said.

She had stated that they should be honest that even before there was the vacuum at the NYDA, there had been issues with the youth body.

“We don’t want to delay any further so that the matter gets exacerbated but we do need to do the right thing once and for all about the NYDA. I must be honest, we are leaning to have an ad hoc committee but we need to have the buy-in from that committee,” Modise added.

The selection process was mired in controversy amid the surfacing of a letter purported to be from the interim ANC Youth League task team, forwarding a list of preferred candidates, including some of those recommended, to the office of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte prior to the interviews.

Among those nominated by the committee to serve on the board were the daughter of former president Jacob Zuma, Thuthukile Zuma, political analyst Lukhona Mnguni, former NYDA board chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni and Avela Mjajubana, a community outreach officer in the office of Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu and former South African Students Congress president.

Others were former Tshwane University SRC president Karabo Mohale, former Young Communist League spokesperson Molaoli Sekake, and Paballo Ponoane, who is the volunteer assistant to the ANC Women’s League Gauteng secretary.

Political Bureau