Social development cuts youth programme funding by R13.8m
This comes after reports claimed the department funded activities of the ANC Youth League
YOUTH programmes funded by the social development department in Eastern Cape have suffered a massive R13.8-million budget cuts.
The department has prioritised the remuneration of its personnel, leading to a 51% decrease in the number of youth projects to be funded this year.
This comes after reports claimed the department funded activities of the ANC Youth League last year.
According to the department's budget, R20.8-million was allocated for youth development compared with R34.6-million the previous financial year.
The budget cut has come as a shock to the portfolio committee, which tabled a report to the Bhisho legislature last week.
"Youth development and women development sub-programmes had their budgets cut to fund cost pressures in compensation of employees and goods and services," stated the report.
"This has resulted in the decrease of 51.4 % in the number of youth development projects to be funded."
A cursory look at the budget shows that a mere 17 youth entrepreneurship development projects would be funded compared with 35 last year.
In addition only 119 unemployed young people participating in income generating projects would be funded as opposed to 525 that benefited last year.
The number of youth with improved income that benefited from the department's funding has also dropped from 263 to 70.
Apart from blaming personnel costs for the saga, the committee said the National Youth Service (NYS) - a programme implemented as a directive from national government - was also to blame.
"The NYS should have been provided as an additional budget to futher enhance youth development in the province," the report said.
Now, the committee wants a comprehensive report on how youth and women programmes would be affected by the budget cuts.
"The impact report must be submitted to the committee within 30 days after the adoption of this report," the committee said.
Cope's Noxolo Ndabeni said her party was concerned about the budget cuts.
The DA's Veliswa Mvenya said it was a concern that the provinces had to foot the bill for national programmes.
UDM's Zukiswa Thabaneng said the budget cut sent a message about government's commitment to youth development.
The ANC's Nomawethu Gqiba said the cut could never be condoned.
MEC Pemmy Majodina said: "As social development department we want to assist youth through this NYS to be empowered with skills to enable them to be job creators rather than job seekers."
Majodina promised to submit the report demanded by the committee within the required time.