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22 September 2017

Hospersa is concerned by the recent negative reports on the dire state of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife’s (Ezemvelo) finances.  Ezemvelo’s management have been criticised by the finance portfolio committee for underspending, not filling key vacancies and for changes to its board.  The Union has vowed to address its members’ concerns regarding staff shortages, poor management and corruption as well as any Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues at the nature conservation agency.

According to recent reports, Ezemvelo’s management appeared before the finance portfolio committee members in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial legislature and concerns were raised over the financial performance of the nature conservation agency.  The committee voiced out concerns over inadequate staffing, underspending of the allocated budget and changes in its board.  It is reported that the agency, which has a budget of more than R1 billion, had underspent it by around R162 million of which close to R20 million was underspent on the filling of critical staff vacancies.

“We are alarmed by these figures when you consider the country’s high unemployment rate,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “The filling of critical positions which includes field rangers should be high on the agency’s agenda as this will ensure that the current employees are not over-worked and efficient management of its conservation efforts is achieved,” added Desfontaines.

A new board was appointed earlier this year and given a one year tenure instead of a three years tenure which was given to previous boards.  It was reported that government plans to merge the nature conservation agency with the KZN Sharks Board to form a new organisation and outsource several eco-tourism operations to the private sector.  The Ezemvelo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the time, Dr David Mabunda, subsequently resigned citing that his departure was amicable following the planned merger.  The agency has also been recently rocked by the sudden resignation of top management with vast knowledge, love and dedication to conservation.

It was further reported this week that a critical Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) portfolio committee could not continue due to the absence of some Members of Paliarment (MP’s) who form part of the committee.  The committee was going to discuss the organisation’s escalating financial woes and map out a way forward into addressing the challenges faced. 

“We are concerned that some of the problems at Emzevelo could be attributed to political interference,” said Desfontaines.  “The dubious resignations of the senior managers and the questionable credibility of the newly appointed board is of great concern.  Stability in the management of Ezemvelo will go a long way in assuring job security for our members working at the nature conservation agency,” argued Desfontaines.

“As the largest trade union at Ezemvelo, we will continue to address the various issues related to poor management and corruption, staff shortages and OHS as mandated by our members,” concluded Desfontaines.



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For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines on 083-321-4427.


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