Skilled waiter from Clarens awarded

2015-10-21 06:00
FUNDISILE MKETENI (SANParks chief executive officer), James Mokoena (a winner of the Lifetime Contribution Award from Golden Gate Highlands National Park), Selinah Mokoena (his wife), Edna Molewa (national minister of Environmental Affairs) and Joann

FUNDISILE MKETENI (SANParks chief executive officer), James Mokoena (a winner of the Lifetime Contribution Award from Golden Gate Highlands National Park), Selinah Mokoena (his wife), Edna Molewa (national minister of Environmental Affairs) and Joann

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PRETORIA. – Katiso James Mokoena, who hails from Khubetswana near Clarens, has been rewarded with a Life Time Achievement Award by the South African National Parks (SANParks) at the 2015 Kudu Awards Gala Dinner in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Convention Centre, Pretoria, on Friday evening (16/10).

Mokoena, who works as a waiter at the Golden Gate Hotel, went back home with an award, a grey jacket and a cheque for R20 000 as a reward for his four decades of selfless service and dedication.

Mokoena said he was happy with the award.

He added that it was an example to other people that if they work hard, they will be rewarded at the end.

“I did not expect it at all, but God has his ways of making things. I think hard work was key in leading towards this achievement,” he said.

He urged his colleagues to learn from him and never stop believing in themselves.

“They should keep on doing their job because some people are looking up to them as role models.

“They will only realise when the right time comes that they had been doing a good job. It took me 40 years,” he said.

The Brandwag Hotel was officially opened in 1972 as the only hotel managed by National Parks in South Africa.

Three years after its official opening, Mokoena as a young man who hailed from the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, was employed as a room attendant at the hotel.

This was just a year before the world famous Golden Gate dinosaur eggs were found at Rooidraai.

Mokoena was transferred from housekeeping to impart his customer service skills in the Brandwag restaurant in 1978.

He regarded this as a lifetime opportunity to showcase his passion and talent.

He attributes his success to effective customer service provided by the National Parks sytem, which he says is wrongly perceived as only a law enforcer.

In 2013 Mokoena was also is awarded for outstanding service in the workplace in the Northern region at an award ceremony held in Mapungubwe.

It was a moment to remember for this remarkable man.

Edna Molewa, the national minister of Environmental Affairs, congratulated the award winners.

She said that her department would be happy to see more new faces on the stage to collect the awards next year.

Molewa said the awards were aimed at rewarding those who have worked hard and also to motivate others to work hard.

“The Kudu awards is an opportunity to recognise excellence. We wanted to say thank you to our ordinary staff members who have worked hard.

“To those who received the awards, they should know that the whole of South Africa is grateful and appreciate the value of the work they are doing to conserve our national heritage.”

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