Coast KZN

27 Jul 2017

Ezemvelo Chief’s resignation put on hold

Kamcilla Pillay (The Mercury) Picture: David Mabunda


The resignation of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife chief executive David Mabunda has been put on hold with MEC Sihle Zikalala insisting he is still in charge of the entity.

The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) released a statement on Wednesday in response to the announcement made by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife on Tuesday that Mabunda had resigned, and was being replaced in an acting capacity by Sthabiso Chiliza.

Ezemvelo held a “farewell briefing session” for Mabunda on the same day. “We want to state categorically that Zikalala has not endorsed the agreement to release (Mabunda),” the department said in a statement.

Zikalala was still “applying his mind” on the submission and still “engaging with all the parties involved,” according to the statement.

Zikalala said: “Foremost in our minds is to ensure Ezemvelo’s capacity to deliver on its mandate is maintained and, as such, whatever decision we reach will be informed by what will be in the best interests of (the entity).

“Dr Mabunda remains the chief executive and we would like to assure stakeholders that the entity is stable.”

Ezemvelo spokesperson Musa Mntambo said last night Mabunda and the entity would not comment further on the issue.

However, Mabunda in his farewell speech said his initial appointment was for six months, which had been extended for another six months.

“It was never my intention to take a permanent appointment. In case some of us forgot, my appointment was synonymous with a rescue mission, to pull the organisation out of the quagmire. It was meant to be a temporary intervention and at some stage it was going to come to an end.”

He said he had come to the decision after “serious soul-searching and negotiations with the new board, agreeing to part ways on July 31.

“I must declare up-front that the parting is amicable and mutual. Allegations of a power struggle between the board and management are incorrect and mischievous.”

His appointment came with many challenges. “Ezemvelo suffered heavily because of under-funding.” He called Operation Lungisa – which “restored the dignity” of the staff who endured long-term temporary appointments and low salaries – a highlight of his tenure.