Coast KZN

15 Jul 2018

New Ezemvelo boss plans to revive cash-strapped entity

Siboniso Mngadi (sunday Tribune) Picture: The newly appointed Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife board chairperson, William Mngoma.

The newly appointed chairperson of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife board, William Mngoma, is hoping his experience in biodiversity management will help revive the cash-strapped state-owned enterprise

The 62-year-old retired senior manager was appointed this week by MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs Sihle Zikalala along with 11 other members – Bonginkosi Mthembu, Thulisa Ndlela, Vusi Mvelase, Sipho Mtolo, Seeng Lebenya, Thandeka Ntshangase, Ian Wing, Sihle Ndlovu, Robert Haswell, Diana Hoorzuk and Sinegugu Ncube.

Mngoma, a part-time lecturer, worked for the department for 37 years, specialising in environmental matters for 19. He takes over the reins amid allegations of fraud, bankruptcy and maladministration.

Having been on its board representing shareholders, Mngoma said he was aware of the challenges the entity faced, adding that the relationship he had with the board would assist him in moving forward.

“Now, that I’m at the helm, the buck stops with me. I have a chance to correct the mistakes and implement my ideas. There are too many issues at hand that need urgent attention. Shortage of funds and staff and low morale are among them. The entity has lost some specialised personnel because of that.

“Among priorities we would like the minister to sign off on is the commercialisation policy. We want people to make an expression of interest in facilities that we have. That would attract new partners and generate revenue for the entity.”

Commercialisation should be a priority because it would enable the board to tackle a number of issues, he said.

Mngoma said he was open for consultation with anyone who wished to make an input.

“My concept is that we are all in this together, I’m not single-handed. Consultation is key for the ecological heritage of the province. We must make sure it is used sustainably for us and for future generations.

“I want to see people criticising us constructively. People should raise issues and possible solutions,” he said.

DA spokesperson on Environmental Affairs, Ann McDonnell, welcomed the new board, adding that the entity had almost been destroyed by a largely inexperienced and mismanaged interim board.

She said the DA was devastated by the lack of accountability and shocking management that had left the organisation in ruins.

Bongani Tembe, spokesperson for Economic Development, said the department was committed to fighting corruption. Anyone who had information should come forward or hand it to a law enforcement agency so that culprits could be held accountable, he said.

Mngoma also encouraged people to speak out about fraud and corruption. “There are people who are ears and eyes for the province, who can say who are plundering our resources and killing our rhinos and doing an illicit trade.”