http://zululandobserver.co.za/104684/bi ... -ezemvelo/
Big budget cuts for Ezemvelo
Drastic budget cuts announced for Ezemvelo
22 hours ago
DRASTIC budget cuts have been announced for the already embattled KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife, against a history of alleged fraud, corruption and mismanagement at the top structure of the provincial conservation body.
The Department of Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDTEA) in February urgently announced massive budget cuts of over half a billion rand for 2016/2017, which have inevitably spiralled down to its entities.
The budget reduction of R145-million for 2016/17, represents 20% of Ezemvelo’s total budget.
Further cuts of R147-million for 2017/18 and R149- million for 2018 and 2019 were announced.
But, according to Ezemvelo spokesperson, Musa Mntambo, the budget cuts are not likely to affect field operations such as the fight against rhino poaching and marine conservation including the removal of gill nets.
Instead, savings would be effected by limiting conferences attendance across the organisation, cutting down on events and awareness campaigns, and freezing vacant posts and long service awards for 2016/17.
‘If there are any conferences people want to attend, they will have to make submissions to the CEO indicating the benefit to the organisation should the employee attend, together with possible funding areas,’ Ezemvelo Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Darius Chitate said in an internal circular.
Appointments will in future be made on ad hoc basis, including submissions to the CEO, detailed motivation and means of funding the position.
‘Revenue accounts for less than 30% of our income and HR costs now account for 114% of our subsidy.’
Apart from the moratorium on conferences and long service awards, protected area expansion has been placed on hold.
According to insiders, the operating budget was already cut to the bone prior to the announcement, due to lack of state funding and continued salary increases and other human resource expenses.
Shortages were supplemented by increasing revenue from tourism and hospitality, but the emergency measures were insufficient to absorb the impact.
Chitate said the massive subsidy cut has highlighted the organisation’s over-reliance on state subsidies.
‘To address the problem, we need to capacitate and invest in ecotourism and other revenue generating projects to ensure a maximum return on our ecotourism.’