Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:23 pm

http://www.news24.com/Green/News/KZN-rh ... r-20151005

KZN rhinos in danger
2015-10-05 12:36
Jonathan Erasmus, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - Fears have been raised that bureaucratic bungling by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife could be impacting on the province’s dwindling rhino population.

This as a rhino anti-poaching airwing unit has been grounded for two months as staff at the struggling provincial wildlife authority fail to attend key decision-making meetings to decide who should be the supplier of helicopters to be used to protect rhino.

Recently Ezemvelo came under intense scrutiny by the KZN Legislature due to its R213 million under-expenditure in the 2014/15 financial year, with the bulk of this under-expenditure being operational capacity.

At the time general manager Sudhir Ghoorah told the MPLs that the body was “sorry for letting you, the department and the public down”.

Just how many rhinos poached during this period as a direct result of the poor air support is, according to experts, difficult to quantify. There is, however, deep concern that the longer the status quo remains, the greater the risk profile to the Zululand region and its dwindling rhino population.

An insider into the anti-rhino operations said while the grounding has been kept out of the news, poaching syndicates were more than likely aware of the situation.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said the delay in awarding the contract to a new service provider for the Hluhluwe-based Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing (ZAP-Wing) lay in the slow process in awarding tenders and poor attendance at critical decision-making meetings.

“We are about to appoint a new provider fairly soon. This service plays a crucial role in our anti-poaching strategy. Without the air support it puts us under pressure and means we must rely on our other resources.

“The advantage of the air support makes it easier to spot poachers and rhinos,” said Mntambo.

He said the tender process is drawn out and requires three separate committees to sit before it is eventually finalised.

“First the specifications committee must meet, then the bid evaluation and finally the bid adjudication committee. Some of these committees have been delayed as they have failed to make a quorum,” said Mntambo.

Karen Holmes, the general manager of the Zululand Rhino Reserve — an amalgamation of 17 privately owned game farms near Mkhuze, said the lack of air support is a “huge concern” and could lead to an escalation in poaching.

“The longer the air service stays down, the greater the chance of more incursions into the reserve.

“In the past we could phone ZAP and within minutes we would have the required support. Now we must just rely on our ground support,” said Holmes.

Project Rhino KZN secretariat Sheelagh Antrobus said the lack of aircraft was “badly affecting the conservation community”.

“The tender process has been completely tied up by their procurement systems,” said Antrobus.

Antrobus flew to the USA this weekend to raise further funds for the anti-poaching programme in KZN.

Project Rhino was pivotal in the creation of ZAP-Wing by obtaining private funding while successfully lobbying the KZN Provincial Treasury in 2013 to release R74 million to Ezemvelo’s anti-poaching rhino war-chest.

ZAP-Wing fixed wing pilot Etienne Gerber said the helicopter contract lapsed at the same time that they lost their fixed wing aircraft.

“We had been using a demo plane provided to us by the company who were building us a new aircraft. However, the company needed us to return their plane about the same time as the helicopters became unavailable.

“In the interim we have been using the volunteer pilot service called The Bateleurs,” said Gerber.

Gerber is currently in Johannesburg to train on the new aircraft, a two-seater Skyreach BushCat.

The Bateleurs is a voluntary organisation, that primarily assists with air support for environmental causes.

In the last two months the NPO made several trips to Zululand and the KZN Midlands, providing air surveillance in the fight against rhino poaching.

During the recent full moon six more rhino carcasses were found in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. More than 750 rhinos have been poached nationally this year.

Ezemvelo said as at September 27, 64 had been poached in their parks, while a further 16 have been killed in private reserves in the province.

The air wing started in 2012 and provides support to 24 game reserves covering an estimated 300 000 ha in Zululand including both private and state owned parks. Previously they had two fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters at their disposal.

The planes were funded through private donors, while the contract for the helicopters was managed by Ezemvelo.

In May 2015 Ezemvelo put out a tender asking for companies to submit proposals to supply two new helicopters, but by the end of July, the then provider’s contract came to an end with still no appointment made.

Ezemvelo’s rhino security manager Cedric Coetzee said the extended lapse was unexpected.

“We had planned for a week [between service providers] but it is unfortunate that it has been a bigger gap,” said Coetzee.

He said alternative arrangements have been made, including support from the SAPS Airwing and the authority’s capture helicopter.

“We are hoping to get airborne quickly. It is difficult to say whether poaching has increased as a result.

“I would need to see the data before making that kind of judgement. Last week we also had the brightest moon in years and helicopters wouldn’t have made an impact.

“Air support does not stop poachers, but it goes a long way to increase the reaction time of ground teams and provides operation enhancements,” said Coetzee.

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:22 pm

:shock: mind-blowing in the middle of a war that not every cent and available resource is being put to use . -O-

Makes one question the dedication to stopping the carnage . O/

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:18 pm

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/ ... s-20151007

Golden handshake for suspended KZN conservation boss
2015-10-07 15:38
Jeff Wicks, News24

Durban - Former Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize, who was suspended last year over the failed attempt to roll out a new staff management and payment structure, was paid out one’s year salary to bow out under a cloud.

This was revealed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife board chairperson Comfort Ngidi at a media conference in Durban on Wednesday.

During Mkhize's tenure, the organisation was plunged into chaos as workers downed tools over the payment of a "migration allowance", a change that saw salaries adjusted to meet similar "benchmarks".

Ngidi said that Mkhize had misled the board into believing that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife would have the requisite capital to do this, but when only senior management had their salaries increased, the staff complement making up the lower rungs embarked on a full blown strike.

Mkhize was suspended after a task team had found that the restructuring was unlawful, and faced disciplinary action.

Ngidi added that the process became protracted after an independent advocate was appointed to officiate the hearing and that, to save rising costs of the legal process, they had entered into settlement negotiations with the erstwhile CEO.

Ngidi stressed that this process had been confidential to protect Mkhize’s rights as an employee, and that journalists should weigh the public interest in their reporting.

Also speaking at the briefing, acting CEO Dr David Mabunda expanded on several issues which had dominated discourse around the embattled environmental body.

On the subject of a tender for helicopters to aid in the fight against rhino poaching, Mabunda said they were on the cusp of appointing a service provider.

He said that three companies had been shortlisted, but were unable to meet the specifications of the contract.

He said that he was alive to the possibility of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife purchasing and operating their own fleet of helicopters.

Speaking on the topic of the controversial Fuleni coal mine which closely borders the HluhHluwe Imfolozi Park in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mabunda said they had communicated their opposition to the mine to the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:11 pm

Scandalous! 0*\

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:18 pm

Yip and I bet the golden handshake money will be paid out quickly enough ... :X:

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:36 pm

Very sad indeed O/

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:53 pm

http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/home/Det ... eId=102641

Ezemvelo presents its turnaround strategy
08 Oct 2015 12:00 PM
- See more at: http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/home/Det ... PWx9a.dpuf

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife presented its turnaround strategy to the media in Durban on Wednesday. Acting CEO, Dr David Mabunda and Chairperson, Comfort Ngidi, addressed the challenges and allegations over mismanagement that have been plaguing the conservation organisation for the past year. They included under-expenditure, gross lack of maintenance and questions surrounding why former CEO, Dr Bandile Mkhize, received a golden handshake.

Mabunda said the turnaround strategy, which he introduced in December 2014, mainly focused on five specific points: (1) creating a stable organisation; (2) being relevant; (3) strengthening stewardship; (4) growing the organisation’s revenue; and (5) improving rhino security.

Maintaining stability within the organisation, the first pillar of the turnaround strategy, is the main reason why Ezemvelo opted to give suspended CEO Mkhize a golden handshake. Ngidi explained that, although Ezemvelo had a strong case against Mkhize, there was no guarantee that a court case would have been successful and it was also unsure when a court case would have been resolved. Instead of paying the salaries of two CEOs – the acting CEO and the suspended CEO – during this time, Ezemvelo opted to reach an agreement with Mkhize and agreed to pay Mkhize one year’s salary.

According to Ngidi, Mkhize had considerably raised senior officials’ salaries, giving them promotions and changing their roles within the company during his tenure. He had presented this to the Ezemvelo Board saying there were sufficient funds to warrant these increases. This was despite the Department of Human Resources and the CFO advising him to the contrary. “Dr Mkhize wilfully misled the board,” said Ngidi.

A task team has since recommended that the salaries would be reversed and all employees would return to their original posts. Ezemvelo has followed this advice and has reversed the salary increases. Ezemvelo had also asked officials to give back the increases that had already been paid out, which they have done, according to Ngidi.

“2014 was a year of dark clouds for Ezemvelo. A year we would like to forget,” said Mabunda, adding that the stigma of the mistakes made during the year still lingered. He said, as a result of the upheaval during 2014, Ezemvelo had been unable to spend R213m (€13m) of its budget last year, the majority of which had been budgeted for the construction and repair of roads within protected areas.

The state of the roads in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park especially had received attention, with Ezemvelo coming under fire for not spending the necessary funds. Mabunda said the appointed contractors had performed below the accepted standard, leaving Ezemvelo to re-advertise for new tenders. He added, however, that the area was now a ‘beehive’ of activity with 45% of roads already rehabilitated. The project should be completed by March next year.

Mabunda said 2014 was behind the organisation and it was now moving forward. The organisation is in a more stable position than before and the Auditor General has indicated that Ezemvelo’s financial performance and cash flows are in accordance with the standards and requirements. “This is the second time in succession that the entity has received an unqualified report from the Auditor General,” he said.

According to Mabunda, a lot has been done to honour the five-point turnaround strategy. Stability has been returned and more than 300 employees who were on fixed-term contracts have been made permanent staff. Employees are now motivated and taking initiatives again.

Senior managers will, from now on, be on performance contracts. “This has never been done at Ezemvelo before. We’ll start measuring every manager in terms of output and what they’ve done. We’ll measure performance. There is no more place to hide,” said Mabunda.

Rhino protection is also at the top of the agenda for Ezemvelo. The organisation is working in close collaboration with law enforcement agencies and tracking and rapid-response poaching alert technology is currently being tested in KZN. Mabunda admitted that the tender process to acquire a helicopter service provider had been unsuccessful, as those who tendered did not meet the requirements. Ezemvelo is now looking into acquiring its own helicopters.

Lastly, relations with the communities, especially those surrounding the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park have been addressed. Ezemvelo has sat down with the communities and agreed on a roadmap on how benefits are going to accrue for them and to identify business opportunities. -

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:31 pm

Always too late 0*\

Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:38 pm

http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa ... 4/TextView



Re: Ezemvelo KZN Management Issues

Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:04 pm

Here we go again 0*\

"But just how he was awarded the contract has left insiders perplexed" and also outsiders :evil: