Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson on Conservation
The Democratic Alliance supports a statement made earlier today by KZN Conservation MEC, Meshack Radebe, that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is not a private entity but rather a public company under the control of the provincial government and that, as such, its CEO and board are required to report to the Portfolio Committee at every meeting – and not just when they decided to.
The MEC’s comment, made during a meeting of the province’s conservation portfolio committee, comes after a late apology from Ezemvelo CEO, Bandile Mkhize, due to other commitments.
The conservation multi-party portfolio committee serves as oversight on behalf of the shareholders of Ezevmelo, who are the ordinary taxpaying citizens of KZN. As such, the CEO and his board need to account on a monthly basis for the expenditure of funds allocated to them to carry out the programmes passed by the legislature.
Questions due to be put to the CEO today included an update on expenditure of the R27 million grant to the province’s anti-poaching unit. The DA had envisaged that funding would be spent on the upgrade of surveillance and weaponry within the unit. Yet there are claims that some R2 million has been used to pay for a TV commercial and a further R7 million on hiring 300 rhino ambassadors, tasked with convincing community members to protect our wildlife.
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.