EDTEA MEC must recall entire ‘tenderpreneur’ Ezemvelo KZN Board

Democratic Alliance media statement by Francois Rodgers, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

 

EDTEA MEC must recall entire ‘tenderpreneur’ Ezemvelo KZN Board

 

The DA calls on KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) MEC, Sihle Zikalala, to immediately recall and remove the entire Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Board following evidence of poor leadership and a dearth of knowledge when it comes to the commercialisation of the entity.

This follows a budget hearing last week on Friday which has revealed that the entity’s finances are in a ‘graveyard spiral’ – a term used by pilots when an aircraft stalls and is unable to recover from certain disaster.

The DA is deeply disappointed by the financial status of what was once one of the jewels of our province with even the CFO admitting the seriousness of the situation.

It is clear that the current Board is little more than a bunch of tenderpreneurs – all focused on self-enrichment rather than an effective commercialisation strategy.

Last year members were tasked with producing a strategy aimed at turning Ezemvelo’s finances around. Friday’s budget hearing showed that this has not been done with compensation of employees rising to a whopping 83% of the total budget while goods and services has decreased to 16% and the budget for assets has dropped to a pathetic 1%.

During the hearing, the Board also produced what can only be described as a ‘wish list’ as their commercialisation strategy – a document without any budgets of projected income and which allegedly cost the entity R500million. When questioned on this poorly planned strategy and who was responsible for it, the CFO misled the portfolio committee, blaming Provincial Treasury for the report which Treasury in turn denied. To add to this, those Board members present did not answer or comment on any of the concerns raised by the DA.

The DA has now called for the province’s EDTEA Department to supply a copy of its Memorandum of Understanding with the Ezemvelo Board and its mandate on the commercialisation strategy. We expect MEC Zikalala to facilitate this process in the interests of transparency.

The DA remains committed to ensuring accountability in an effort to rescue and resuscitate this important entity. It is unacceptable that the future of our wildlife heritage should be placed in the hands of individuals who have no interest in doing so.

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