US $3 Million For Wildlife Poaching

US $3 Million For Wildlife Poaching

The CEO of Ezemvelo, Dr. Bandile Mkhize hosted the U.S. Ambassador, Patrick Gaspard and his wife Mrs. Raina Washington on Monday and Tuesday at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. The Ambassador was accompanied by the US Consul General, Taylor Ruggles. With the Ambassador’s recent appointment to this position, it was his first visit to a Game Reserve in the country.

The U.S. Government has expressed a keen interest in the support for wildlife conservation, most notably on February 11, 2014 when President Obama released a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

The CEO had a private meeting with the US Ambassador on Monday which was followed by the Ambassador’s visit to the Bomas to witness the airlifting of rhinos from the Wilderness Area to the Bomas in preparation for the auction that will take place Wednesday, 14th May 2014. Ezemvelo’s Game Capture Unit is currently engaged in airlifting 26 rhinos from the Wilderness Area.

Speaking during the press brief that followed the rhino airlift, the vibrant US Ambassador highlighted the commitment of the US Government in assisting Africa to fight any form of poaching including Wildlife poaching. He further stated that “the US Government has set aside US $10 million to assist Africa. Approximately US $3 million of that US $10 million will be for bilateral assistance to South Africa.” The South African Government will decide on how this assistance is divided amongst the agencies and organizations that are involved in curbing wildlife poaching.

Dr Mkhize emphasized the importance of technological assistance so that Ezemvelo is one step ahead of the wildlife poaching syndicates. The syndicates are always improving their strategies including the high- tech equipment they use. He further noted that the Province will need an estimated R500 million in order to completely halt the rhino poaching epidemic.  

 

Good things come to those who bait

A small group of fishermen took to the streets of Mtubatuba on Monday, 24th March 2014 carrying placards with messages assortment of messages like “government please help us”, “we are unemployed yet you take away our right to survive”, “ enough is enough”.

The march was aimed at presenting a memorandum of grievances that they have against Ezemvelo, the CEO of Ezemvelo Dr Bandile Mkhize. The march was attended by the residents of Nkundusi and KwaNibela. Mr. Lindani Ngubane, chairperson of Coastal Links committee, led the group through the streets Mtubatuba CBD and the marched converged at the town’s Library where they finally came face to face with Dr Mkhize.

As Ngubane spoke, certain individuals were heard shouting that Ezemvelo only cares for the wellbeing of animals rather than caring for the welfare and security of human beings. The concerns raised included;

  • the prohibition to fish by no-nonsense Ezemvelo authorities;
  • confiscation of fishing boats and gill nets;
  • physical and emotional abuse at the hands of Ezemvelo staff.

Both communities are poverty stricken and have a high percentage of unemployment. “We survive by fishing and selling and the restriction to fish has caused great hunger and distress for our families.” shouted one protester. The memorandum was handed over to Dr Mkhize who was given a period of 14 days to address the grievances.

When accepting the memorandum, Dr Mkhize assured crowd that all their concerns will be looked into and that Ezemvelo has always had the communities’ best interest at heart. He also made the fishermen conscious that some of the issues raised such as physical abuse were new to him and will be addressed swiftly.

“It is a misconception to think that we put animals before our people. We are in the business of conserving nature for the people and for our future generations; so I assure you that Ezemvelo is concerned about your wellbeing and will do everything in its power to find a workable solution to the problem we face.”

Dr Mkhize concluded by highlighting that some of the issues raised need to be addressed with iSimangaliso Wetlands Park as they work with Ezemvelo to manage marine life around their fishing area  

Ezemvelo gives full bursaries to two students

Dr Bandile Mkhize officially met with two of Ezemvelo’s young ambassadors who were each awarded a full bursary to study at any university this year (2014). Zoluntu Ngwane (19) from Ngwavuma and Nontobeko Nondaba (18) from Mvutshini, are both studying Marine Biology at University of Kwa-Zulu, Westville campus.

“We want to learn more about marine life and be marine biologists when we complete our degrees,” they said. These girls were chosen from rural school to receive a bursary when Ezemvelo went on a hunt for 2 top students in Maths and Science.

Dr Bandile Mkhize gave the young ladies a warm welcome to the organization and wished them good luck with their studies. He also revealed his passion for rural areas and that he is committed to create future Ezemvelo scientists who come from rural areas. He also added,” We want to demystify the idea that you can’t get scientists from disadvantaged areas. Kids from rural communities also have potential hence we decided to give them a chance and guide them into the right direction.”

Zoluntu and Nontobeko have been adopted as Ezemvelo’s young ambassadors. The organization will pay for everything they need at university. They were also given Ezemvelo’s promotional t-shirts to help spread the word of conservation at the university. The two were also assigned two ambassadors from Ezemvelo to help them throughout their studies. Santosh Bachoo and Thembisa Jordaan, Marine Biologists based in Durban will assist the two girls during the course of their studies. The students will also get a chance to go on Ezemvelo’s field trips to get more practical experience on marine biology.

Ezemvelo hopes to expand this project next year by adopting more young ambassadors who will further their studies in maths and science. This project is supported by CATHSEETA which is keen to see it grow bigger and has made a commitment to assist Ezemvelo in future.

Ezemvelo wishes Zoluntu and Nontobeko the best of luck in completing their studies and becoming future Marine Biologists.  

Tshelimnyama Ward 15 Cleanup Campaing 2014

“Water is life, respect it and conserve it” was the theme of iTshelimnyama’s river clean-up campaign which was held on the 17 March 2014. Ezemvelo joined forces with the Department of Water Affairs and Durban Solid Waste to raise awareness on the importance of saving water.

The aim of this cleanup was to remove litter from the local Mhlathuzana river, to create public awareness of the causes and impact of litter to the river and to prevent water pollution. Ms Mzimela from the Department of Water Affairs urged the community members of Tshelimnyama to take the water conservation issue serious and work together to save it. She indicated that South Africa is the 7th country with water scarcity hence it is pivotal that communites play a major role in keeping it clean.

The event was also attended by Durban Solid Waste who has played a part in keeping communities around Durban clean. They started a project called Clean and Mantain my city to assist communities conserve their natural resources which include rivers like the Mhlathuzana river in iTshelimnyama.

They thanked Ezemvelo for lending a hand in keeping the local river clean and urged people to work with the 20 assigned volunteers in mantaining its cleanliness throughout the year. In his address Dr Bandile Mkhize, CEO of Ezemvelo, highlighted the important of saving water as it on of the most sources of life. He made people aware that Ezemvelo does not only conserve the big 5 but also ensures the well being of people. “ Uncleanliness does not only affect the environment people live in but also causes a lot of diseases which creates a negative impact on people’s health, he said”. One of Ezemvelo’s core mandate is conservation therefore its also their responsibilies to assist communitihes conserve resources like water.

Communities members, school children, were given overalls and boots to join Ezemvelo in the clean-up. They were also donated tools such as spades, shovels and gardening forks to help them regularly clean the Mhlathuzana river with the help of assigned volunteers  

Remote Kwazulu‐Natal School Afforded Access To Computers

The handover ceremony of a R200 000 fully‐equipped container‐based computer facility took place on Tuesday, 5 March 2014 at Chibini in the Lufafa area outside Ixopo. This facility has brought Sinevuso Secondary School, a remote school, deep in rural KwaZulu‐Natal, into the 21st century, providing disadvantaged learners with their first ever experience of computer technology.

The School, was established in 1998, but has never been equipped with computers. Working in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife ‐ an organisation greatly concerned about improving educational facilities at rural schools ‐ the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT) agreed to make available the converted container and to equip it with the IT tools as a means of assisting disadvantaged learners broaden their horizons.

Commenting on the computer room project, SAMCT Chairman, Mr Mahomed Omar, said: "This project will provide for not only the upliftment, but ‐ more importantly ‐ the educational empowerment of present and future learners from this area. This container‐based computer room is destined to open up a whole new world of learning."

He stressed: "Those learners with enquiring minds will soar to new heights and that new knowledge will stand those learners in good stead for the future." The SAMCT is active in four primary sectors, inclusive of education, health, social development and poverty alleviation. Whilst the SAMCT generally identifies and executes such programmes independently, it will, in certain cases, partner with reputable organisations to ensure that funds reach the most deserving of recipients.

The Sinevuso Secondary School computer room donation proved just such a project. Mr Omar said of the partnership: "Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife holds very similar socio‐economic goals as the SAMCT as regards commitment to improving educational facilities. A partnership with this organisation for the development of this project therefore proved to be a very comfortable fit."

The partnership agreed the most pressing need facing the school was access to computers and Mr Omar said: "A good education is the foundation for life and is of critical importance in the lives of all this country's youth. Without a sound education, learners will find it increasingly difficult to get ahead in life." Speaking during the handover ceremony, an excited Ezemvelo CEO Dr B. Mkhize praised the role that is played by the SAMCT and further appealed to the school and the community at large to look take good care of these computers. “Every parent should be concerned about the education of their children. The Government can do so much and you and I need to work hard in our own space to level the playing fields between the urban and rural schools.”

The handover ceremony was attended by different community structures including the local Inkosi, Ms T. Ndlovu who also made a call to the community to look after the container‐based computer facility like “izikhali zamaNtungwa”  

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