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Jacob & Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's daughter Thuthukile gets nod as youth agency board takes shape

Former president Jacob Zuma chats to his daughter Thuthukile Zuma at an ANCYL gathering in Sophiatown in 2019.
Former president Jacob Zuma chats to his daughter Thuthukile Zuma at an ANCYL gathering in Sophiatown in 2019.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Former president Jacob Zuma's daughter Thuthukile has made the cut to serve on the board of the National Youth Development Agency.

Her mother is co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Thuthukile is one of seven young people whose names were decided in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and which await approval by a sitting of the National Assembly before they are referred to President Cyril Ramaphosa for appointment. The president is the appointing authority.

According to her CV, Thuthukile, 31, works as a freelancer for Stainedglass Productions — the production house which produces Uzalo, the country's most watched telenovela. She is an administrator for the writing room, a writer and is involved in casting. She started at the productions house as a researcher in 2017.

Thuthukile made the news in 2014 when she became chief of staff in the then telecommunications and postal services' minister Siyabonga Cwele's office. She had previously worked as a public liaison officer in the State Security Agency.

She will be joined by Karabo Mohale, Paballo Ponoane, Molaoli Sekake, Lukhona Afrika Mnguni, Avela Mjajubana and John Sifiso Mtsweni, who chaired the previous board until its term lapsed this year.

Mtsweni was first appointed to the NYDA board in May 2017 and was made its executive chairperson by then president, Jacob Zuma. Under his leadership, the previously scandal-prone organisation obtained three clean audits from the auditor-general. It remains to be seen whether he will retain the chairmanship of the board.

Mnguni, well known for his political analysis, is a PhD intern researcher with the ‎University of KwaZulu-Natal's Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit. He has a rich CV in academia and is a published writer.

Mjajubana has a long history in student politics and was elected president of the ANC-aligned SA Students Congress (Sasco) in 2017.

The organisation suspended him in September last year for allegedly receiving about R800,000 from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign funds. He works as a community outreach officer in public service & administration minister Senzo Mchunu's office.

Karabo Mohale, Paballo Ponoane and Young Communist League's Molaoli Sekake are all former student leaders at their respective institutions.

The NYDA was established primarily to tackle challenges faced by the youth.

With a total budget of R545m — of which 37% is spent on salaries — and the power to dispense project money, the NYDA is a highly contested agency. It has previously been a terrain of battle between the ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League, and between factions of these youth formations.


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