The Eastern Cape department of social development allegedly funded ANC Youth League regional conferences last year – because it believed it was paying for events organised and hosted by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

Investigations by City Press have revealed that the NYDA was given R540 000 by the department for eight “youth summits”.

These summits were held, but once the NYDA had completed its work, the youth league took over and ran its conferences in the same venues, with the same delegates, using the same funds and service providers. At these conferences, which were held in May and June last year, high-level elections took place – nominees for national positions were chosen.

Livid opposition parties and the province’s MEC for social development are demanding answers.

“The NYDA is owned by the youth league,” said the DA’s Veliswa Mvenya, adding that the department had to explain itself.

Cope’s Ntombesine Ndabeni accused the two organisations of misspending taxpayers’ money.

The Young Communist League’s provincial chairperson, Sithembele Zuka, said he was “shocked” at the allegations.

The league’s provincial secretary, Mziwonke Ndabeni, said events had been run over two days: the NYDA had paid for the first day “for their presentations to our delegates”.

“For the second day we settled our own bill,” Ndabeni said.

When asked why the agency only seemed to work with the league, he replied: “At municipal level, our members are at the forefront of championing youth issues, so why not target them?”

City Press asked Ndabeni to provide proof that the league had paid its own way, but he failed to do so by the time of going to print.

The department of social development’s spokesperson, Gcobani Maswana, insisted the R540 000 had been paid for NYDA summits.

He refused to comment on Ndabeni’s version of events.

Maswana said the NYDA had provided the department with concept documents about and reports from the summits – but he could not produce the post-meeting reports at the time of going to press.

City Press spoke to two companies that provided services for the “summits” – both insisted the NYDA had paid them for two nights and they had never done business with the youth league.

Social Development MEC Pemmy Majodina was furious when contacted for comment.

She shouted: “I’m tired of hearing about this. We cannot fund any political organisation.

“I only know about youth summits, which I have concept documents and resolutions from. If you are saying it was youth league events, I don’t know about that,” Majodina said.- City Press

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