There has been yet another twist to Parliament’s controversial process of nominating candidates for the powerful National Youth Development Agency’s board.
The special parliamentary committee which was established to find candidates for the board has reinstated on to its shortlist a candidate that it declared “not good enough” only eight weeks ago and has dropped its “best performer” from the race.
The shortlisted candidates are the outgoing chairperson of the agency, Yershen Pillay; his deputy, Kenny Morolong; Ndumiso Mokako; Bavelile Hlongwa; Sibusiso Ngema; Zandile Majozi; and Naledi Maponopono.
The ad hoc committee met this morning and dropped Thulani Tshefuta, whom according to members of Parliament was the best performing candidate in the interviews that were held in March.
Another candidate who had made the initial shortlist – Thembinkosi Josophu – was also excluded.
The ad hoc committee instead brought back Kenny Morolong, who is the deputy chairperson of the outgoing board and whom the committee dropped during the shortlisting in March, saying he did not possess the required academic qualifications to be on the board.
Morolong threatened to take Parliament to court after hearing that his name had been dropped.
His lawyers wrote to Parliament requesting the full record of the process that the ad hoc committee followed. They also wanted the legislature to halt the process of finding board candidates.
“We are requesting the secretary to Parliament to halt this process until they have corrected the impropriety that has occurred,” Morolong’s lawyer Ronald Lamola told City Press at the time.
“We must know why they shortlisted and interviewed him in the first place, and then what changed their minds?” added Lamola, a former deputy president of the ANC youth league.
Now Morolong is back.
Committee chairperson, Phil Mapulane told City Press after today’s meeting of the ad hoc committee that the committee had reconsidered its decision to drop Morolong.
“We have reconsidered his candidature. We have included him on the list that we are going to recommend to Parliament,” he said.
“The committee did not go much into that discussion now, but there have been some interactions after that process. We did really feel that it was going to be unfair to exclude him on the basis of the requirements, because he is currently serving.
“He has been doing good work and there would have been a basis for him to feel aggrieved about the process,” said Mapulane when asked about why the committee reinstated Morolong.
He claimed that the candidates who have been dropped from the shortlist were excluded because they failed to sign consent forms, which would have given the committee consent to verify their credentials.
“They were supposed to sign a consent form for verification of qualifications, they did not,” said Mapulane.
Mapulane said they were confident and satisfied with the seven candidates that the committee chose adding that, all of them have been verified.
The three-year term of the outgoing board ended on March 31, but the process of appointing the new board has not been a smooth one.
For the first time since the establishment of the agency, Parliament has included academic qualifications in the requirements for potential board candidates.
Some potential candidates view this requirement as a way of excluding them.
A total of 131 applications were received for the seven spots in the board.
The development agency was established in 2009 to be a single, unitary structure, to address youth development issues at national, provincial and local government level. The body was imbued in controversy in its early years, especially with concerns over financial mismanagement.
But in September last year, it announced that it had received its first clean audit report from the Auditor-General for the 2014-2015 financial year.