Thirty-one-year-old Kutloano Rakosa says awareness about the LGBTQI+ community and their rights should start at an early level in schools. Rakosa is one of the 40 shortlisted candidates who have been interviewed to serve on the seven-member National Youth Development Agency Board. Issues of youth unemployment, the NYDA Amendment Bill and Gender-Based Violence also featured during the interviewing of candidates.

The interviews were conducted by the Sub-Committee of Parliament’s Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities as well as the Select Committee on Health and Social Services. Rakosa was asked what he will do to ensure that the LGBTQI+ community is protected if he is appointed to the NYDA Board.

He says it is concerning to see how many of the people in this community are being killed and ridiculed.

Rakosa explains why early awareness is important to protect the LGBTQI+ community.

“Because at a very young age, if I was taught at primary and high school that there is people who are transgender, gays and lesbians I would not be at this point trying to affirm who they are.  So, we need to forge social compacts with necessary organisations and NGOs about awareness of who really is an LGBTQI and what really is an LGBTQI. Above all we need to ensure that beyond everything we speak to (the) Department of Higher Education, we speak to the Department of Education in order for them to start the education at a bare minimum level so that all citizens understand who is an LGBTQI. Now when you establish social compacts, they will assist you to take awareness and information to the streets. You then are able to speak to people who are on  the ground almost each and every time.”

NYDA interviews – Part 1:

Another candidate is 28-year-old Alexandria Procter from Cape Town, who says crime affects women in all respects, even when they conduct business or seek job opportunities.

Procter believes men’s perception on how women should be treated needs to change.

“Being able to move around freely in South Africa, being able to conduct business, being able to kind of adopt your business, being able to seek opportunities(and) go after them,- crime does affect you. I mean,- we know stats against GBV (Gender-Based Violence), how women are almost facing like a war you know, –  against our bodies, against our safety is a mass issue. So, how do we kind of have conversations around how men should treat women in this country, how women are able to pursue their opportunities, to live in this country without the sort of fear of the safety of our lives. I think that’s a big issue,” she says.

Gender-Based Violence in numbers : 

Twenty-five-year old Paballo Ponoane has described as disheartening, the country’s youth unemployment.

On the role she would play if appointed to the National Youth Development Agency Board, Ponoane said:  “First, social justice is very close to my heart. It’s quite disheartening to hear that (the) unemployment rate currently in the country sits at 72 % for young people and the overall unemployment rate in the economy is at 32 %. It’s quite disheartening and I would want to become part of the people who bring in the innovation, who bring in the ideas, who bring in the policies and make sure that there is implementation.”

Young people discuss unemployment: 

NYDA Amendment Bill

Twenty-nine-year-old Pearl Pillay says the proposed amendments to the  National Youth Development Agency Act will place the agency in a better position to initiate, design and pilot good programmes for the youth. The NYDA Amendment Bill has already been submitted by the Ministry of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities in the office of the president.

“My approach to engaging the Department will start by saying I really appreciate the amendment that’s being proposed to change what the NYDA is meant to do right? And so it’s going from being you are the  B on N door of development to saying actually what you should be doing you should be initiating, designing and piloting programmes. I mean…I think that’s a phenomenal way of how development actually works because what good development does is to say here is a thing, we tried it once, it worked really well, you go and do it. And I think an agency like the NYDA is really well placed to make that kind of programmes to say, look we have tested this,- we can now hand it off to this department, – it’s been tried and tested and it works,” says Pillay.

NYDA interviews Part 2:

The NYDA has been without a board for more than a year. The successfully shortlisted candidates will know their fate after all other processes have been followed. The next process will be for the Sub-Committee to deliberate on the names of the interviewed candidates and choose the best ones, before submitting their names to the Joint Portfolio Committee.

The names of the recommended candidates will have to be adopted by the committee, which will then seek the final approval of the National Assembly and the NCOP for the new NYDA Board. It will only be after all these parliamentary processes that the new board will be appointed by the Minister in the Presidency for Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

NYDA interviews Part 3: