The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has told Parliament he is aware that the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) is not fulfilling its mandate.
In response to a question from Francistown West MP, Ignatius Moswaane, the minister conceded that BNYC has failed in representing youth interests.
Olopeng said he had met with the BNYC board and district youth representatives to deliberate on the organisation’s mandate and focus, in order to provide guidance and direction. “My ministry is currently engaged in an exercise to restructure the BYNC and refocus its mandate on youth advocacy and empowerment,” he said. “The restructuring is intended to re-align the operations of the BNYC and the district youth committees to those of the ministry, streamline the secretariat and improve the capacity of the BNYC to enable it to reach out to young people,” he explained.
Speaking to Mmegi after his response in Parliament, Olopeng said all BNYC employees had received letters informing them of the restructuring process. “Of course some are likely to lose their jobs while others will not. My ministry will know what really happened after the restructuring exercise is over. Some will be forced to re-apply for jobs when the process is done because we cannot keep people with old contracts,” he said. The restructuring exercise started last November and is still going on. Olopeng said the purpose of the restructuring was to refocus the BNYC so that it realigns its mandate to the needs of the youth. He some of the youth issues that have to be addressed are social and life skills, which BNYC had turned a blind eye to.