Golden handshake for suspended KZN conservation boss

2015-10-07 15:38
Dr Bandile Mkhize has officially resigned from Ezemvelo. (Supplied)

Dr Bandile Mkhize has officially resigned from Ezemvelo. (Supplied)

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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. 

Read more on:    ezemvelo kzn wildlife  |  durban

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