“They have shown South Africa that young people are capable of managing and accounting for funds. They have shown us that it is indeed possible to turn public entities around. They have shown us that good management of resources will result in better service delivery,” said the Deputy Minister at the Auditor- General South Africa Audit Awards on Friday.
He said three years ago the picture of the agency was one of corruption, mismanagement and nepotism and there was a perception of a "culture” of financial mismanagement.
The journey towards a clean audit began when President Jacob Zuma appointed a new board of directors for the NYDA in March 2013 under the leadership of Yershen Pillay.
Upon his appointment as Deputy Minister in The Presidency with oversight responsibility of the NYDA, he met with the board and reiterated his demand for strong leadership and sound financial management as the foundation for impactful youth development service delivery.
The Audit Committee held management accountable and ensured that proper controls were developed and that the control environment was monitored. Risks were identified early and mitigating actions implemented consistently.
Deputy Minister Manamela said the result was a 97% reduction in irregular expenditure, from R62 million in 2012/2013 to R16.7 million in 2013/2014 to R580 000 in 2014/2015.
“The NYDA will not rest there. We are aiming for zero irregular expenditure. A reduction in matters of non-compliance from 10 to zero. Today the NYDA is a fully compliant public entity,” said the Deputy Minister.
He said good financial management almost always resulted in more resources for service delivery.
“Sturdy oversight, good corporate governance and sound financial management are not ends in itself. It must result in better service delivery for our people. It must result in public funds being put to its best use for meeting the needs of our people and for the responsibilities of the state.
“Clean audits inspire public confidence. It changes people's perceptions about public institutions. Young people are more confident about the services of NYDA.”
The Deputy Minister said over one million young people have been served through NYDA services. A total of 1034 young people received grants to start their businesses and 300 students received scholarships.
He said it was important to reflect on the journey towards a clean audit because there was a need to model practices across the public sector.
“We need to amplify these good practices and challenge departments and entities to model these good practices. Public funds must be spent prudently and must be properly accounted for in terms of our legislation and regulations.