Experienced new acting CEO to stabilise Ezemvelo

2014-12-12 00:00

THE Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) board chose an experienced outsider when they appointed an acting CEO to stabilise the organisation.

The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, and the chairperson of the board, Comfort Ngidi, introduced Dr David Mabunda as the acting CEO of the organisation to the staff and the media yesterday.

They also announced that the acting chief financial officer is Ebrahim Mulla.

Mulla worked as finance manager in EKZNW.

EKZNW has gone through turmoil in the past year. Between April and July, staff members protested after a new organisational structure was implemented, which allegedly benefited some staff members and victimised others.

An investigation was launched and resulted in the suspension of the CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize and CFO Darius Chitate.

Mabuyakhulu said they had decided to recruit from outside the organisation because they wanted someone untainted by the problems the organisation experienced and someone with a fresh eye.

He said it was not easy convincing Mabunda to join Ezemvelo. “We believed it was in the best interest of the organisation to find a solution from outside, someone who will mend fences so to speak and give a fresh look to the organisation.”

Mabunda has extensive experience in the conservation industry. He is the former SANParks CEO and was in that position for 10 years.

While at SANparks, he achieved 10 consecutive clean audits. He also helped grow the SANParks business revenue from R234 million in 2003 to R1,3 billion in just over 10 years.

Mabuyakhulu was quick to point out that Mabunda was not being lined up to take over should Mkhize be sacked.

“Dr Mabunda does not want the job of the CEO … He will be here for a period of six months depending on when the situation with the CEO [Mkhize] is finalised.”

He said they would welcome the finalisation of the disciplinary process against Mkhize regardless of the outcome.

Mabunda said his job was to stabilise the institution. “The morale of the staff is not where it should be … but when I spoke to them this morning there was a connection and I could see they are responding.”

He said fighting the scourge of rhino poaching will be among his priorities. “Can you imagine people coming to South Africa to see the big four? That will destroy our tourism industry.”

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