All those who buy in to these values are valuable and valued members of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife team, explains marketing manager Siphelele Luthuli. “It is of the utmost importance that our people – our human capital – remains focused on these values in the daily execution of their tasks. We are both happy and proud to know that our people meet these criteria. “In order to recognise this and thank them for their valuable input we have instituted the Excellency awards which are made annually to a large number of worthy staff members and even outside contributors to our cause. These individuals all purport themselves in a way which is in line with our five year strategy to improve the biodiversity of KwaZulu-Natal for all – and our vision to become a world renowned leader in biodiversity conservation,” she explains.
“We recognise their important role and the contribution they make to our strategic goals. Without our committed staff and their ongoing drive to excel, we cannot reach our goals – since they are more than the wheels that turn the engine, they are more than the engine itself, they are what makes it work for not only our fauna, flora and animals but also for our guests and our stakeholders, and the communities we touch, into perpetuity.” [As such, the company believes in awarding those who have risen to the rank of excellent in their continued endeavours to govern, maintain and protect our wildlife around the province.] Even some outside awards were recently announced at a glittering function in a variety of categories.
Winners in the External categories were: Olivia Taylor in the individual category, Cheryl Ogilvie in the corporate category, Sunshine Pre-Primary school in the community project category, the winner of the Group/NGO category was the North Durban Honorary Officers, and the environmental journalist award was proudly received by Larry Bently. Internal awards were made to John Crowson for the Best Conservation Manager, Khehla Nzimande was awarded as Best General Assistant, and Jeffrey Cooke took home the Achievers Award. Mpila Resort happily walked off with the Ecotourism Award, while Enseleni Nature Reserve was awarded as the Protected Area of the Year.
The Human Resources Award was won by Tessa Khumalo while Mduduzi Blessing Sikhakhane received the Infrastructure and Special Projects award. The People and Conservation Award found its place in the hands of Nandipha Thobela and the Scientific Services Award was made to Jenny Longmore. Bhekinkosi Mkhwanazi was hailed as the Employee of the Year, amongst much cheering. A further 25 meritorious awards were made. But perhaps crowning the ceremony were the Prestigious awards, which were made in three categories. The Magqubu Ntombela Award was handed to Bhekinkosi Mkhwanazi, the Office of the CEO award to Ignatia Khuzwayo and the CEO award went to Sbonelo Gumede.
Says CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Bandile Mkhize: “We have reason to be very proud not only of our own staff members, but of our stakeholders and community members who have the vision to protect our wildlife and biodiversity. It is only when we join hands and partner with every possible individual that has the same vision, that we can make a significant impact and a noticeable difference in the field of protecting and maintaining our biodiversity in a sustainable manner.”
Growing into an Excellent Company
In 1947 the then government established the Natal Parks, Game and Fish Preservation Board in Natal. The name was later simplified to the Natal Parks Board.
Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi established the KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources in 1982, this later became the KwaZulu Department of Nature Conservation.
Post 1994 the two bodies were merged into a single organisation, which was named the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service. More recently the name was changed to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Excellence Awarded in KZN's Biodiversity Sector
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the parastatal body which is responsible for KwaZulu-Natal’s luscious biodiversity, game parks included, believes that excellence should be more than just something to strive for; it should be a state of mind.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife operates a variety of nature venues, including holiday resorts, family lodges, bush lodges, bush camps, camping and caravanning sites, and even conference venues – in short, something for every traveller, from luxury accommodation to camping, with many variable options in between, set in the lush landscape of KwaZulu-Natal. Ezemvelo’s staff complement numbers 2 500. zemvelo has adopted as their core values those of integrity, respect, accountability, teamwork, innovation and commitment, which alongside productivity, leads to the outcome of excellent contributions to the overall strategic goal.
by Ilse Ferreira