Fat payout for wildlife boss

2015-10-08 10:57
Dr Bandile Mkhize has officially resigned from Ezemvelo. (Supplied)

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

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Pietermaritzburg - KZN’s former wildlife boss, who spent nearly a year under suspension, was paid close to R2 million in a settlement ­agreement.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife chairperson Comfort Ngidi said despite being ­convinced that it had a “strong case” against former CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize, the one year’s payout was in the best ­interests of the organisation.

Mkhize, when approached for ­comment, said via SMS he has “no comment on this matter”.

“This matter is history now to me. I signed a confidentiality agreement and it will remain that way on my side,” he said.

Ngidi said Mkhize had asked to be paid out the remainder of his five-year contract, which was approximately four years, in the initial negotiations of the settlement.

“We knew we wanted the relationship terminated, but we couldn’t pay out the contract. His legal representation then asked for two years and we eventually settled on one year,” he said.

Ngidi said he had “consulted” the Ezemvelo board and Economic ­Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu before entering into the negotiations.

“In making this decision we had to take into account the cost of the ­disciplinary proceedings.

“We had brought in an independent panel consisting of two advocates, one of which was the chairperson, and an ­instructing attorney. This was done ­because in public entities there can be allegations of political interference and ulterior motives.

“We also factored in the instability and morale of the staff, not to mention the emotional effect it would have on us and Mkhize,” said Ngidi.

Handed out yesterday, the organisation’s 2014/15 annual integrated report said Mkhize’s package amounted to R1,712 million. Ngidi said this was the amount he would be paid out in terms of the one-year settlement agreement.

Mkhize was suspended in December for his role in the implementation of a new organisational structure known as the “migration policy” at the provincial environmental body.

Ngidi admitted that Mkhize initially had the support of the board to ­implement the policy, which would have seen all staff salaries, including that of the CEO, increase.

“We couldn’t afford to pay everyone. Only senior executives received the ­increases. We did not have the R130 million required. The board’s argument was we were not aware [of the financial situation].”

Mkhize’s salary was among those that increased. According to the 2013/14 ­annual report, his total remuneration was R2,005 million.

All staff, including Mkhize, were ­required to pay the extra money back ­after the migration policy was scrapped in mid-2014 by Mabuyakhulu.

After Ezemvelo workers went on strike in April 2014, Mabuyakhulu founded a task team to look into the policy. According to Ngidi, the team found it was unfair, unlawful and had not been sanctioned by the board or the MEC

Read more on:    durban  |  ezemvelo kzn wildlife

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