No love lost as NYDA’s kissing fest report finally comes out

By Carien Du Plessis 4 August 2011

Most are surprised it has been released at all. The report on the international kissing festival of youngsters that took place in December 2010 (and cost R100 million-plus) has finally been tabled in Parliament. Not unpredictably, the DA is seeing red. CARIEN DU PLESSIS reports.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip – of the “stuur die IDIOOT in sy moer” (“send the idiot to hell”) fame – is in a huff again. In fact, his exasperation seems to be so great it makes up for all of us who do not have the energy to be sufficiently incensed, or for those who are not vexed at all because they thought it was fine to spend close on R100 million in state money on a badly-organised anti-imperialist youth festival. (If nothing else, at least the kissing games were reported to have been a success. – Ed)

In a missive sent out by his party, Trollip announced that minister in the presidency Collins Chabane finally tabled the final report of the World Festival of Youth and Students in Parliament on Thursday.

Journos did a double-take, because months earlier we were sent on a wild goose chase looking for the report. In fact, we came to believe that it really did not exist at all. A blip registered on the radar in February when, after much controversy, the National Youth Development Agency, which officially organised the fest (unofficially the ANC Youth League made the bid for and ran the thing, but channelled the funds through NYDA), called journos to confess (after much questioning, of course) that R100 million was spent on the jamboree. It was at a time when NYDA CEO Andile Lungisa, then ANC Youth League deputy president, still believed he could take on Julius Malema at the League’s leadership elections in June. Maybe he wanted to pre-empt any strike from the Juju camp or maybe Lungisa is just a nice guy looking to clear the air. He eventually stepped back for Malema after all.

Apart from making for juicy reading, the report really doesn’t tell us much more than we know. Some of the new stuff include the revelation of 23 government sources of funding. Over and above the R29 million from the presidency, the R3 million from arts and culture, R1.9 million from communication, the festival also got money from the premiers of Free State, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo, as well as the Hessequa municipality (Albertinia and Riversdale).

DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, however, kept her purse firmly closed and told everyone so.

In the expenditure section of the report, the NYDA says: “It must be noted that due to the interest the Festival drew from stakeholders in South Africa, including the media and political parties, greater attention was paid when processing payments.”

Trollip fumed: “This startling statement raises serious questions about whether the appropriate financial procedures would have been disregarded altogether had the festival not received the level of publicity that it did.”

We can only wonder.

The DA Youth, surprisingly, has agreed to attend NYDA’s National Youth Convention in Kimberley (they forever walk out when they discover NYDA’s events are dominated by the Youth League) which starts on Friday to talk about the integrated youth development strategy, which will hopefully offer a few solutions to the problems facing young South Africans. DM

Read more:

  • Zuma and Malema open the youth festival at Timeslive.

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