Kruger National Park 2005 Achievers Honoured
By Raymond Travers
A sobering moment took place at the recent Kruger National Park Achievement Awards ceremony when the wives and mother of the late Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu were handed the Kruger Cross.
L/Cpl Ndlovu was posthumously given the award, which is the Kruger National Park’s highest award for bravery, for his valiant action during the early hours of February 22, 2005 when he was trampled and killed by an elephant while on a routine bicycle patrol in the Stolsnek Section south of Pretoriuskop.
Photo 1: SANParks Chief Executive Dr David Mabunda presents a posthumous Kruger Cross Award to representatives of Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu’s family during the KNP Achievement Awards.
As his relatives and Section Ranger, Rob Thomson stood silently accepting the award on behalf of their beloved husband, son and colleague from SANParks Chief Executive Dr David Mabunda, almost 500 distinguished guests stood silently out of respect to one of the Kruger National Park’s most valued heroes.
The presentation of the Kruger Cross is usually the culmination of the award ceremony, which saw 31 individual awards going to various individual Kruger National Park employees who have gone the extra mile while serving the organisation.
Awards in the categories “Outstanding Service in the Workplace” and “Outstanding Service to Tourist/Client/Customer” went to the following people:
Vusi Mngomezulu, Immy Serakalala, Gerson Sekwena, Samson Chuma, Fernando Machele, Soekie Schoeman, Suveer Mawalal, Renate Ackermann, Hitlers Mathebula, Sandra MacFadyen, Patricia Khoza, Josephine Shiburi, Elmon Rikombe, Phineas Nxumalo, Maureen Gunn, Norman Sanderson, Faith Dlamini, Stephen Nel, Ezrom Mathumbu, Van Rooi Moreku, Patience Mabaso, Stephen Whitfield, Gift Khoza, Joseph Baloyi, Girly Ndubane, Kagiso Tlhobolo, Hein Grobler, Getrude Tibane, Douglas Mashele, Jackson Mabunda and Isaiah Nyakane.
But traditionally it is the awards of Region of the Year, Department of the Year, Camp of the Year, Bush Camp of the Year, Ranger Post of the Year and Entrance Gate of the Year that creates the most excitement during the award ceremony.
Outgoing Regional Manager Natalia Ndaba-Mafumo can be very proud of her Central Region for scooping the award of Region of the Year in the face of stiff competition from both the North and South regions.
Utter delight was expressed when the KNP Department of the Year was awarded to the young and vibrant Tourism and Marketing Department. Ms Lucy Nhlapo promptly called all her colleagues from the department to accept the award.
Photo 2: Dancing department! That is the only way to describe the reactions of the KNP Tourism and Marketing Department after receiving the Best Department of the Year award by KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
An ecstatic Ms Lerato Teeke, duty manager for Satara, went up to the stage to accept the award for Camp of the Year on behalf of the Kruger National Park’s Satara Main Camp.
Photo 3: Sweeping away stiff competition from previous winners Olifants and Pretoriuskop, Satara Main Camp emerged as the Camp of the Year. Duty Manager Lerato Teeke accepted the award on behalf of all her colleagues at this popular Central Region camp.
Bush Camp of the Year again went to the Biyamiti Bush Camp team ably led by Stephen Nel and VanRooi Moreku.
Photo 4: Biyamiti Duty Manager VanRooi Moreku and Hospitality Manager Stephen Nel received their well-deserved Bush Camp of the Year award from KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
The smile on Section Ranger Johann Oelofse’s face when Mooiplaas Section was awarded the coveted Ranger Post of the Year was indescribable. Again, a whole team of proud supporters rushed onto the stage to assist Johann with carrying the trophy.
Photo 5: Absolute jubilation was the order of the day as a delegation from Mooiplaas Ranger Post received the Ranger Post of the Year award from KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
In spite of tremendous challenges, notably the fact that construction work on the new building continues, the Entrance Gate of the Year was again awarded to Phalaborwa Entrance Gate. Jessie van Eeden and colleagues received this award on behalf of Phalaborwa Entrance Gate.
Photo 6: Friends and colleagues from Phalaborwa Entrance Gate receive the award Entrance Gate of the Year from KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
The Total Top Service Award for the best filling station went to Crocodile Bridge and Hospitality Services Manager Mr Gladstone Dupwa received this award on behalf of the filling station.