Mabunda moves on

2017-07-27 13:40
Dr David Mabunda.

Dr David Mabunda. (File)

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Following the resignation of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife acting CEO, Dr David Mabunda, some have expressed sadness and disappointment over the news.

Mabunda gave his farewell speech at the Queen Elizabeth park auditorium on Tuesday, detailing the highlights he experienced as acting CEO at Ezemvelo since December 2014.

Mabunda said during his speech that his initial appointment at Ezemvelo was only for six months, however, it was extended with a mandate to “stabilise the organisation, restore discipline, normalise relations with organised labour and refocus the organisation on its core mandate of biodiversity conservation and improve expenditure levels”.

“We worked well together and achieved most of our set objectives,” he said.

“Our highlight was Operation Lungisa, which restored the dignity of our staff, who were condemned to long-term temporary appointments and chattel slavery salaries.

“We even managed to buy a new aircraft for our scientific research activities and replaced the 33-year-old “skorokoro bhanoyi”(scrap aircraft).

“We achieved a lot against odds. Where we failed it was not through lack of will or commitment, but circumstances beyond our abilities.

“It was never my intention to take a permanent appointment.

“It was meant to be a temporary intervention and at some stage it was going to come to an end,” he said.

Mabunda said he was inaugurated as an honourary professor in natural sciences by the Oxford Academic Union in July this year. His new role requires that he operate in an academic environment or research institution whose objective is research development in different fields.

“Such an environment will allow me to initiate, promote and lead research development in the natural sciences.

“Given the lack of black experts in environmental sciences it is my intention to focus on the training and development of conservation practitioners, managers, researchers and scientists at different levels and that task cannot be achieved if I continue serving as a CEO of a public entity,” he said.

“After some serious soul searching and negotiations, the new board and I have reached an agreement to part ways on July 31, 2017 and allow the board to steer the organisation to a new direction while I commence a new chapter in my life.”

DA MP Ann McDonnell said that the news of Mabunda’s resignation was disappointing and “very sad”.

“There is no one with more experience in conservation,” she said.

“We were hoping to have him at the helm to drive the commercialisation process of all Ezemvelo’s sites and he had made an absolute concerted effort on the anti-rhino poaching front.

“We are concerned that there is a new board and a new CEO at a time when Ezemvelo needs stability.”

Mabunda said in his speech that his resignation was not due to a power struggle between the board.

“In addition to thanking my colleagues, I extend my gratitude to our MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, for allowing me this rare opportunity and privilege of leading Ezemvelo.

“I also want to thank the new board under the leadership of Zwile Zulu for their contributions in the last six months since its appointment,” he said.

Zulu said in a statement that Ezemvelo wished Mabunda well.

Ezemvelo has appointed Sthabiso Chiliza as the acting CEO until further notice.

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