Youth agency gets a clean audit

2011-09-29 14:13

Johannesburg - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) received an unqualified audit report for its latest financial results despite a year of negative publicity, CEO Steven Ngubeni said on Thursday.

"Despite the mostly negative criticism, the NYDA once again for the last financial year attained an unqualified audit opinion - clean opinion - from an independent audit by the auditor general of South Africa," he told reporters in Midrand.

The NYDA recently came under fire for exceeding its original budget of R69m to host the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students.

The final cost was R106m, said Ngubeni.

He said the AG had highlighted some problematic areas in the NYDA's finances, but that these had not affected his clean audit opinion.

One of the problems was expenditure of R67m not in accordance with National Treasury requirements.

Ngubeni said that of this, R26m related to the youth festival and was a result of the late withdrawal of the service provider awarded the contract and because of the late commitment from funders.

"Due to the urgency resulting from the limited time, the normal tender processes were not followed to allow the delivery of a successful festival," he said.

The other R41m related to running expenses, mainly contracts entered into by the former Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

However, Ngubeni said the AG found no misappropriation of funds or other "unbecoming conduct".

"The AG has, in his opinion, cleared the festival. We believe we are close to laying the matter of the World Festival to rest."

The NYDA had also been criticised for its high staff costs.

Ngubeni said the NYDA spent 35% of its total income on staff costs and not the almost 50% some had suggested.

He said the agency had met 42 of its 49 key performance targets in its financial year ended March 31.

NYDA chairperson Andile Lungisa said the youth festival was "bigger than the World Cup".

"It was a credit to young South Africans who... hosted more than 15 000 delegates, it was a serious event... Even the United Nations has not hosted that event of more than 125 countries," he said.

The NYDA was established from a merger between the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission in 2009 by an act of parliament.