By Ann McDonnell, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA):
THE DA will today submit written parliamentary questions to KZN EDTEA MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu following the announcement that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has reached an “undisclosed settlement agreement” and “parted ways amicably” with suspended CEO, Bandile Mkhize.
The news comes almost a year after Mkhize’s suspension following the implementation of a new organisational structure at the provincial environmental body which saw high-ranking officials receive massive pay hikes. The move supposedly caused considerable stress and upset to other employees which had negatively affected service delivery.
Ezemvelo has defended its decision to come to an agreement with Dr Mkhize on the basis that the situation was creating instability and attracting negative publicity for the organisation.
The DA has several concerns around this decision.
As a public entity, Ezemvelo is answerable to the people of KZN. Details regarding the spending of funds therefore belong in the public domain.
The entity’s unwillingness to provide this information points to a veil of secrecy which cannot be tolerated.
The DA will submit the following questions to MEC Mabuyakhulu today;
– Was Dr Mkhize’s package a buy out of the four year balance of his contract or a negotiated amount?
– Were any recoveries made from the over payments to senior officials which was the basis of the suspension?
– Has any action been introduced to deal with non-performance by contractors (roads) as part of the infrastructure projects under Dr Mkhize’s management?
The DA regards the department’s decision to walk away as questionable given its mandate of good governance and proper monitoring of its entities.
In allowing this matter to be closed without any real consequence it has set a dangerous precedent – one which absolves high-ranking officials from accountability.