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SANParks sets the record straight
Date: 25th September 2013
South African National Parks (SANParks) has noted the application by Aikona to the Public Protector. This is not something new from the group; they have made two such applications in the past which did not have merit and were not entertained. This is pure abuse of our democratic system.
SANParks would like to advise Aikona to lay charges if they do have tangible evidence of any wrong doing on the part of its executive management, with any court of law and stop asking the Public Protector's office to use already stretched resources for frivolous allegations. They always throw mud in the hope that some of it will stick.
SANParks has had 19 unqualified reports from the Auditor General; this shows the type of management that is in charge of conservation assets of South Africa. There is a board that holds the Executive to account and a Ministry that ensures that everything is done according to the book. All the reference to the statutes in the application are being interpreted by the group according to their understanding and are meant to muddy the waters.
The main gripe of Aikona is on the hotel development, hence the name of their organisation. They have buried their heads in the sand thinking that conservation should still be conducted the way it was in the 15th century. This is the 21st century and we have diverse needs from current paying clients and those needs have to be fulfilled if we are to continue having viable protected areas. There are different kinds of people who go to safaris in this day and age, those who still do camping, those that do self-catering and the ones that would prefer to have their meals prepared for them at any time of the day.
SANParks generates 80 to 85 percent of its operating budget and has managed to keep financial management tight in a challenging economic climate.
The issue of salaries and bonuses are not determined by the Executive Management and SANParks fails to understand why the organisation has to be investigated.
On the hotel front, everything has been done according to the book, the environmental impact study, consultations, you name it. There is a paper trail if they need more information.
SANParks has a board that holds management accountable and the Minister is also there to make sure that we follow procedure. The Board is appointed by the Minister and one fails to understand what its composition has to do with SANParks.
Once again, if there is proof of any maladministration, SANParks would like Aikona to stop wasting the Public Protector’s time and resources and go lay charges with any court in the country.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
SANParks: Acting Head of Communications
Tel: 012 426 5203; Cell: 073 373 4999
SANParks Media Specialist
Tel: 012 426 5315; Cell: 083 673 6974