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Tue, 01 Aug 2017
Surprise move to merge Shark and Park boards in KwaZulu-Natal...

The KwaZulu-Natal government is planning to weld together two different organisations: one that was set up to protect animals from people, the other to protect people from animals. Now, faced with a State-funding cash crunch, the KZN government has announced plans to merge the 70-year-old provincial nature conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with the KZN Sharks Board, an organisation set up primarily to kill or ward off man-eating sharks.

The proposal has come as a surprise to several conservation leaders concerned about the future of the conservation agency at a time when Ezemvelo has been wracked by leadership instability and funding cutbacks. Reacting to the merger plan, a former Ezemvelo senior executive remarked: “What! The one organisation kills animals and the other is supposed to save them!”

To add to the instability of the proposed amalgamation process, Ezemvelo chief executive David Mabunda resigned this week – barely three years after his predecessor Bandile Mkhize was suspended in the wake of a damning government task team report on massive salary hikes for top executives and allegations of “jobs for pals”.

Mabunda – a former chief executive of SA National Parks who was brought in to restore stability at Ezemvelo in early 2015 after the departure of Mkhize – has insisted that his decision to depart was “amicable and mutual”, despite leaving before his contract expires in 2018.

Image: South Africa is

A new management board was also appointed in 2017 amid concerns that at least two board members were chosen for overtly political reasons rather than their professional experience or interest in nature conservation.

Curiously, the new board also has a tenure of just one year, whereas Ezemvelo boards are usually appointed for three years.

Sihle Zikalala, the provincial ANC chairman and MEC for the Department of Economic Affairs, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, announced in June that the KZN government was planning to merge a number of government-funded bodies as part of a rationalisation process for public entities.

Zikalala told the provincial parliament that government was committed to building a state with “organisational capacity and systems that facilitate [the] realisation of a set agenda”.

Combined with low economic growth, low projections for revenue collection and increasing debt service costs, it was now necessary to implement a rationalisation process for KZN’s 18 provincial public entities.

‘Conservation efforts are costly’

Over the last year, a body known as the Rationalisation of Public Entities Task Team (Ropett) had evaluated provincial public entities, a process that included the possible down-scaling of functions, transfer of functions, abolishment or mergers. This had included an evaluation of both Ezemvelo (with a staff of almost 3 000 people) and the KZN Sharks Board (with just under 200 staff).

“Ropett acknowledges that conservation efforts are costly and that the current operating model of Ezemvelo is not adequately addressing its funding requirements. The subsidy received from government is insufficient to address all the entity’s needs and funds have to be supplemented by own revenue,” said Zikalala.

Image: Thanda Safari

“However, as tourism facilities are currently not maintained to acceptable standards (due to lack [...]

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017
#WeDoTourism: SA’s Tourism Month launches with aim to grow economy...

The Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, and CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, launched Tourism Month with the main aim to boost the country’s economy through tourism. Launched at Dunkeld Country Estate, Dullstroom in Mpumalanga on Wednesday 26 July, Tourism Month “provides us with that opportunity” to grow the economy says Xasa.

“Tourism is a very important sector for the South African economy,” she says at the launch, “Against the backdrop of the slow growth of the South African economy this year, increased unemployment figures and downgrade threats, the tourism sector is the solution to bringing about economic growth and employment creation”.

“Together as government and private sector, it is important for us to provide access to information that excites people about our country and dispels concerns,” Xasa says, adding that Tourism Month is the perfect opportunity to achieve this.

South Africa celebrates Tourism Month annually in September with a focus on the importance of tourism to the economy. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Tourism for Development”.

This year, SA Tourism approaches Tourism Month with the “I Do Tourism” campaign. “The campaign seeks to make tourism everyone’s business by demonstrating the far-reaching impact of its value chain. The I Do Tourism campaign calls all South Africans to loudly and proudly declare, “We Do Tourism”,” says SA Tourism

“We want people to feel ownership with tourism, and then they’ll have a vested interest,” Ntshona told Traveller24 at Indaba 2017 about the campaign.

He also shared some of the SA Tourism’s plans to boost tourism and the economy, saying that SA Tourism aims to promote all nine provinces through its “5 in 5” plan. “We’ve set a target for ourselves so in the next five years we want to grow the tourism space by five million more travellers – domestic and international, through leisure and business tourism,” says Ntshona.

At the launch Ntshona says “We are in a tight economic environment. Tourism is one of the sectors we believe can pull us out of this place”, while urging all South Africans to find a way to contribute to tourism.


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Tue, 25 Jul 2017
Lanseria airport launches self-service technology to allow passengers to ch...

Lanseria International Airport says it is the first airport in Africa to introduce self-service technology for passenger and airline convenience.

The airport has invested in SITA’s Scan & Fly drop units and airport iValidate systems to offer its customers greater efficiency and more convenience when flying from the airport in north Johannesburg.

The new technologies will enable passengers to check in online, or via their mobile devices, tag and drop their bags in less than a minute before proceeding directly to their boarding gate, it said.

Traditional check-in counters will convert into intuitive technology equipment that will allow passengers a simpler, faster solution for their air travel experience.

“Creating convenience has always been a priority for us – and it forms part of our drive to realising our vision of becoming the regional airport of choice. We’re excited to be the first airport on the continent to offer our passengers and airlines technologies that will ease the process of air travel,” said Rampa Rammopo, CEO of Lanseria International Airport.

The new technology will not only allow passengers to check in their own luggage, but will also automatically verify all types of boarding passes, including home-printed A4 and mobile boarding passes, enhancing security and speeding up the check-in process for passengers, the airport said.

It will also roll out new baggage reconciliation technology, which it said should help ensure that passenger’s luggage arrives with them at their destination.

Airlines using the airport will need to comply with IATA’s Resolution 753 that requires airlines to track bags at key points during the journey.

“We look forward to piloting the new technology at the airport with our technology partner SITA, which will go live at the end of August 2017 – all in the interest of saving time and offering our passengers peace of mind when checking in to fly from our airport, especially as we gain momentum in the construction of our MSP,” said Rammopo.

Among other recent developments, the airport has completed the construction of its new Air Traffic Control tower and emergency management services unit, to make provision for a more comprehensive view of, and access to, the air field.

The development of the three-level Multi-Storey Parkade is also in progress and scheduled for completion in the latter half of 2018.



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