The DA has written to the Auditor General to investigate the office of Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane relating to the unspent Youth Development fund in the 2021/22 financial year.
The Office of the Premier started the youth development fund in 2020/21 and set aside R50 million, increased to R90 million in the 2021/22 financial year.
According to the third quarter report for the office of the Premier, an amount of R43 million was transferred to the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA). Although the money was transferred to MEGA, the office of the Premier still ran the programme.
MEGA managed to disburse R23 million of the R43 million by December 2021/22 according to the third quarter report.
However, the Premier requested a roll over for the remainder of the money which was R47 million for the 2022/23 financial year – therefor the Premier’s office reporting a 0% spend for the Youth Development Fund in Mpumalanga.
This coincides with the report submitted by the Portfolio committee on Premier’s office; Finance; Economic development and Tourism on the Mpumalanga Appropriation Bill which states that “Spending on the Mpumalanga Youth Development Fund (MYDF) was reported to be at 0% and the Office of the Premier was busy with the adjudication process for the grant applicants”.
It is a disgrace that the Premier of Mpumalanga failed the youth, while youth unemployment in Mpumalanga has continued to soar, with two-thirds of young people being unemployed the cost of living has increased drastically, and jobs are fast becoming a scarce commodity.
The Premier has failed the youth of Mpumalanga and must be held accountable for not spending the money that was allocated for the Youth of this Province as well as the reduction of R50 million in the MYDF.
It is concerning that the Premier’s office, together with MEGA appears to be trying a quick fix of last year’s mistake by making a series of payments to 74% of the youth enterprises in the 1st quarter of the current financial year 2022/23.
The DA will continue to monitor the outcome of the requested investigation and will not allow the youth of this province to be deprived of funds which could positively impact their lives.