‘Drunk’ CEO suspended

2008-07-01 00:00

THE embattled chief executive officer of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Khulani Mkhize, has been suspended pending an investigation into a number of allegations that have been levelled against him.

The allegations, which include driving while under the influence of alcohol, are related to a car crash during the EKZNW’s board tour to Tembe Elephant Park in June.

It is alleged that Mkhize had “disappeared” with a rented vehicle during the tour.

The car, rented from Avis in Pietermaritzburg, was later found crashed amid allegations that Mkhize had been driving while drunk.

The internal investigation will also focus on Mkhize’s alleged failure to report the incident at the time of the accident.

MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu announced at a media briefing yesterday that he had put Mkhize on “special leave effective from June 27 until further notice”.

Mthimkhulu said the suspension is to allow for the investigation to take place.

It will also “give Mkhize time to respond to such allegations”.

No timeframes have been given for the probe.

Mthimkhulu also announced that he had appointed Bheki Khoza, the executive director for conservation at EKZNW, to act as CEO in Mkhize’s absence.

EKZNW is on a campaign to enhance its public image.

In an interview with The Witness last month, Mthimkhulu said there is an urgent need to “improve the image of the entity and to rid it of all the bad elements … ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament”.

EKZNW has been dogged by controversy recently, including allegations of fraud and misuse of corporate credit cards; supply chain management issues; company houses and corporate governance.

This prompted him to relieve the board of its accounting duties and commission a forensic audit, which is being undertaken.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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