‘Ezemvelo must make money’

2010-11-18 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife was given a stern warning by the provincial finance committee to get its act together and start generating money.

This was after it had failed to respond in writing to a committee resolution asking how the conservation body plans to become more financially self-sustainable.

During last year’s mid-term review, the committee heard of buildings in wildlife parks that were in a state of disrepair, poor collection of gate fees and broken-down vehicles.

Finance committee chairperson Belinda Scott said that with the pressures for funds for health and education, there will be less money for conservation.

As it is, she added, Ezemvelo gets the highest amount of government funding compared to other conservation bodies in the rest of the country.

Scott acknowledged that Ezemvelo CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize was not at the helm when the resolution was passed, but he had been appointed from the Kruger National Park and she hoped that his knowledge gained through national conservation would make a difference in the province.

Jo-Ann Downs of the African Christian Democratic Party said, “We love our country’s wildlife, but the realities are that unless we become sustainable, it is going to all disappear. You absolutely have to generate your own income.”

Scott said she would get agriculture portfolio committee member Henry Combrinck to speak to Mkhize. “He will lecture you for hours on revenue from hunting. Instead of culling, you can open up to hunters. I know because I’ve had to listen to him,” she added.

The finance chairperson said the committee is not expecting miracles overnight, but it needs to see some improvements, otherwise the situation will get so bad that it will become unaffordable to put right.

Mkhize said Ezemvelo has made a start in becoming sustainable.

It has appointed a business improvement manager and has a plan to lessen the reliance on government money.

The finance committee also learnt that R1 million was spent on rhino poaching intelligence and R8,6 million was set aside to replace vehicles.

A further R7 million went on building and refurbishments — the first time that such a big budget has been allocated to buildings.







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