MEC warns KZN Wildlife

2013-04-17 00:00

THE newly appointed board and chief executive of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife came under fire for snubbing the conservation and agriculture portfolio committee in the KZN Legislature yesterday.

CEO Bandile Mkhize and the board members were conspicuously absent at the meeting, which was to scrutinise the board’s budget.

Some senior and junior officials were in attendance.

Mkhize had given an apology.

The apparent snub by Mkhize and the board came almost a year after he and the Ezemvelo chairperson, Comfort Ngidi, failed to turn up for a budget hearing.

At the time, finance portfolio committee chairperson Belinda Scott accused the wildlife organisation of holding the legislature in contempt.

At yesterday’s meeting, Agriculture and Environmental Affairs MEC Meshack Radebe could not hide his annoyance.

“This is a brand-new board. Hardly two months after their appointment, they are not here.

“I hope it is the first and the last. In future, when you come without the board, we will ask you to leave,” Radebe told the officials at the meeting.

The MEC said the portfolio committee did not consider the political affiliation of employees of Ezemvelo.

He said the conservation body should make a written representation to the portfolio committee chairperson about the absence of the board and Mkhize.

He added that Ezemvelo should be accountable for its finances. “That is not negotiable.”

It had launched projects and undertaken overseas trips without his knowledge or seeking his approval.

“I have raised the problem with Bandile personally that there is a concern, but there is no change.”

The MEC warned that he had the authority to revoke the powers of the board.

“We are not going to allow this to go on as if Ezemvelo is a department,” he said.

Tom Stokes of the Democratic Alliance supported Radebe, saying Ezemvelo was not a private entity, but rather a public company under the control of the provincial government.

“The current laissez faire attitude of the CEO and the board to these requirements needs to change.

“The DA welcomes the MEC’s stance and the fact that he has now drawn a line in the sand,” Stokes said.

Mkhize told The Witness that he had been in Pretoria with the chief executive officers of other agencies to discuss a forthcoming rhino summit.

He insisted that he had tendered his apology and had mandated executive director Bheki Khoza to lead the Ezemvelo delegation to the meeting.

“I know I did tender an apology. I sent a senior manager, Mr Khoza, who is well versed with Ezemvelo.

“It was adequate to have him there,” Mkhize said.

He declined to comment on the other issues raised by Radebe.

Ngidi said the board was not invited to the meeting and was not aware of it.


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