Department of Environmental Affairs audit 2015: Financial &Fiscal Commission briefing; S A National Parks on 2015 Annual Report

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

16 October 2015
Chairperson: Mr J Mthembu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) gave an analysis of the performance of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and its entities, taking the approach of looking retrospectively and proactively three years back and future. It recommended what areas the DEA could address and how it might maximise its resource allocation. The FFC pointed out that although on paper the allocations had risen, in real terms they had not. It emphasised the need for urgent prioritisation by both the DEA and government in general on climate change, which would be even more devastating for already vulnerable rural populations. The results on spending of grants was presented, and it was again suggested that more resources needed to be moved across to climate change, and that spending in conservation and biodiversity had fallen. In general, however, spending was good, with 99.9% spending, with underspend occurring by positions not being filled and computer services and invoices not presented in the financial year. Performance had improved, except in Oceans and Coastal programmes and most reached 80% achievement on targets, except for the Chemicals and Waste programme at 70%. The pattern of transfer payments was explained, and all entities had consistently spent in full. South African National Parks (SANParks) received over R590 million in 2014/15. 1.3 million temporary jobs were created through the Expanded Public Works Programme , 701 small businesses were supported and R173.9 was spent on this initiative. The FFC drew attention to misalignments between set targets and achievements, and it was recommended that recommendations accepted by government, from the FFC, which were relevant to the DEA mandate should be mainstreamed in the DEA programmes. The Committee was impressed with the presentation and indicated that the Committee needed to work more closely with the FFC, who could assist the Committee with its oversight, and commented that it would have been useful to have this analysis prior to the Department and its entities presenting their annual reports. Members asked to what extent FFC interacted with local government and the Chairperson expressed strong recommendations that Parliament must address climate change very seriously, and that various portfolio committees must liaise closely on the issues. Members asked the FFC to explain exactly where the misalignments were and how they could be addressed and to clarify how FFC would interface with government departments and entities. They commented that perhaps funds should be ring-fenced, and more attention was needed to enforce air quality legislation. The DEA noted what it was doing to address environmental issues with local government, and agreed with ring-fencing suggestions. DEA noted that it had had 169 targets, of which 12 were still in progress and 150 achieved, with only five not achieved.

SANParks presented its annual report, noting that a new Board had come into effect on 1 April 2015, and had taken a decision to focus on five issues. In governance, there would be tightening of procurement, delegation process and risk management. A comprehensive approach to transformation would be adopted. Consideration was being given to whether the SANParks should become a section 3(b) entity, with less dependence on transfers from the DEA. Management would visit the Kruger Park to assess the progress with combating rhino poaching and there had to be better collaboration between SANParks and the security cluster overall. Some irregularities from the previous year were being investigated. The targets not achieved were presented. Fund-raising was below par, largely due to the economic climate, and SANParks fell short on the targets for rehabilitation of land from alien vegetation, and also on the target for the census of animal and plant populations. The targets for combating rhino poaching, and for increasing black visitors to the parks and transformation had been criticised by the Auditor-General as not well defined. Figures were presented for rhino mortality in Kruger Park, together with proposals to address it. The targets for permanent job creation were not met but it was noted that perhaps they were not achievable, and the difficulties with disabled recruitment, given the job environment, were outlined. The steps taken to address irregular spending, wasteful and fruitless spending, cash embezzlement, stock loss and problems of non-compliance with objectives were discussed.  The steps taken to put new policies and procedures in place were outlined.

Members said that a stronger framework for boards to interact with Parliament would be useful,   following year. The organisational review was welcomed. Some Members were uncomfortable with race numbers being recorded, even after it was explained that this was intended to improve the numbers of all visitors and to target particular groups. Members agreed that the targets for poaching and general sustainability and wildlife crime needed to be more precise and urged more focus on clearing new ground of alien species. They discussed the fact that SANParks must at least try to reach government targets of 2% disability employment, asked if the Parks were paying municipal rates, asked it to pursue black franchises in the Parks and noted that casualties and deaths in the fight against wildlife crime should be declared. 

Meeting report

Department of Environmental Affairs audit outcomes for 2015: Financial and Fiscal Commission(FFC) briefing
Mr Sipho Lubisi, Commissioner, Financial and Fiscal Commission, gave an introduction to the role and function of the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC or the Commission), as also on the place for the environmental affairs portfolio in the broader economy. Issues of the environment needed to be dealt with through an integrated approach. He said that South Africa was facing serious environmental issues such as the lack of adequate water and the destruction of natural habitats. He said that climate change needed to be prioritised more by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA or the Department) and government as a whole, because the Commission had undertaken research in Limpopo and Eastern Cape which showed that climate change would be most devastating for communities that were already vulnerable. Effects of climate change would impact the production of staple crops in these areas and have particular consequences for woman-headed households. He said that the DEA had clear legislative directives within the National Development Plan (NDP). 

Dr Mkhululi Ncube, Programme Manager: Local Government Unit, FFC, presented on the departmental analysis and the entities reporting to the DEA. He said that the research conducted in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo illustrated that climate change needed to be prioritised because of the socio-economic implications it had on the most vulnerable in the provinces studied.

He then presented an overview of the mandate of the DEA, the overall strategic goal and the seven departmental programmes. The majority of the funding of the DEA came from grants, and he said that over the last four years allocations and spending had increased. He said that the spending patterns of the DEA had improved, as more of the budget was being spent. He explained the methodology used in the analysis. He noted that the FFC provided a 3-year backward and 3-year forward looking analysis of the departmental budgets. The process compared the allocations and performance by  vote, programme, sub-programme and province. There was also an analysis of the nominal and real growth rates.

The findings were then estimated. He pointed out that the comparison of real figures and growth rates would take inflation into consideration. Variances and explanations were given, including the drivers for change. The FFC would also look at spending by economic classification – on this point, there needed to be consultation with DEA.

He said that even though allocations had increased on paper, the real value of the money had declined, and thus the DEA was able to do less with the money allocated. He noted that corrections were needed to change a typing error in relation to the section on Oceans and Coasts, but overall he pointed out that although spending too had increased, the real value was on the decline.

He said that funding for programmes needed to be revised so that more resources could be pulled into the climate change programme, which was a key government priority. The spending on the conservation and biodiversity programme had seen a general decline The Legal Division was labour intensive but the budget was very small. The economic classification of the DEA showed that there was growth in terms of the expenditure on personnel, and over time more money would be spent in nominal terms on personnel.

The spending performance of the DEA was very good. In the 2014/15 financial year, the DEA spent t R5.67 billion of its total allocation of R5.68 billion, which represented a 99.9% total spending. The 0.1% not spent during this financial year was mainly due to underspending on Programmes 2 and 6 , because established posts for integrated environmental authorisations and bio-security services were not timeously filled (an underspend of R3.01 million) and because of computer services not being included on time (R2.217 million) . Furthermore some invoices for Expanded Public Works Programme projects were not received in time for payment within the 2014/15 financial year.

There had been an improvement in departmental performance from 2013/14 to 2014/15 across all programmes, except for Oceans and Coastal, where achievements had remained the same at 80% of targets. In 2014/15 most departmental programmes had an achievement rate of 80% and above, with the exception of the Chemicals and Waste programme which achieved close to 70% of its targets.

He then explained the relationship between the DEA and its entities, in terms of the transfer payments that the former would make. He noted that:
- The South African National Parks (SANParks) receives the bulk of transfer payments disbursed to entities, receiving just over R590 million in 2014/15.
- All the entities had consistently spent 100% of their budgets between the period 2013/14 and 2014/15.
- Particular spin-offs from the entities included the fact that 1 355 207 temporary jobs were created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). 701 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) were supported, and a total amount of R173.9 million was spent on this initiatives.

He made some recommendations to the Committee, as follows:
 

  • The Portfolio Committee should note some misalignments between set targets and achievements on some programmes especially the Chemicals and Waste Programme
  • The Committee should note that DEA and entities, in overall spending and audit performance, are generally very good
  • The Committee should look at the DEA’s work in light of the FFC’s recommendations that had been accepted by Government.
  • The Committee should oversee that recommendations accepted by Government and relevant to DEA’s mandate were taken through and mainstreamed in the DEA’s programmes. In this regard, he commented that he had given merely an overview, and steps still had to be taken to implement recommendations and issues highlighted.

  • The Chairperson commented that it would have been very useful if the FFC could have presented before the DEA and the entities had briefed the Committee on their annual reports, since the recommendations in this presentation would have assisted the Committee greatly when interrogating he presentations given in the last week. The recommendations made by the FFC must be taken into account when entities made their presentations to the Committee and when the Committee went on its oversight visits.

Mr T Hadebe (DA) commended the presentation given and agreed that the recommendations given needed to be taken into account to inform the oversight role of the Committee. They tied in to matters that the Committee observed during oversight visits.

Mr Z Makhubele (EFF) agreed with the Chairperson that the information provided by the FFC would give the Committee a better sense of the problems. The DEA had accepted the recommendations but he still wanted to know what was causing the misalignments mentioned in the presentation. He knew that the role of the FFC was to work with national and provincial government, but asked if it also interacted with local government. The points made about decline of the real value in the budgets applied across government and the DEA and its entities, like other departments, would have to do more with less.

The Chairperson said the issue of climate change had been problematic because of the dependence on donor aid to fund this programme, and this was something that would have to be addressed. Climate change was both an international issue and a domestic one, involving cross-departmental issues and proper budget allocations would be needed. Parliament needed to take climate change very seriously, with better coordination with other Portfolio Committees. The issues raised had to be addressed in a collective manner to establish an overall approach to dealing with climate change. He said the quarterly reports allowed for oversight but there needed to be effective oversight for effective government. It was important to keep tracking the achievements and targets of DEA and its entities. The FFC had allowed for the tracking of spending of DEA and its entities. The recommendations by the Auditor-General and the FFC needed to be considered very seriously by DEA and all its entities and there should be a strong government response and good oversight by the Committee.

Mr Lubisi responded that the FFC works very closely with SA Local Government Association (SALGA) and also with specific municipalities that required help.

Dr Ncube said the misalignment with chemical waste was due to a lack of capacity and issues with budgets. The FFC had been working with municipalities, providing a toolkit which would assist with the management of municipal grants. Projects to deal with climate change could be created at municipal level, and this was something that had been presented to SALGA.

The Chairperson asked how FFC would interface with government departments and entities

Dr Ncube said that the FFC had a primary stakeholder in Parliament. The recommendations that FFC presented were intended to help Parliament with its oversight role. FFC interacted most frequently with National Treasury but also with other departments.

Mr Z Makhubele (EFF) said that studying feasibility of conditional grants was not prioritised. The lack of capacity was due to money being shifted at municipal level. He wondered how useful it would be to ringfence funding, to ensure that money was used for its intended function.

The Chairperson said that air quality policy, at local authority level, was weak, due to a lack or complete absence of capacity. Industries would be licensed to operate without the impact on air quality being considered. Local government was unable to manage waste and its immediate environment and thus national government wanted to have oversight on how these programmes were being implemented at local level.

Mr T Hadebe (DA) asked when the recommendations were tabled to Parliament.

Dr Ncube said there had been an attempt to mainstream grant funds, to include funds for climate change. He said that ring-fencing of funds could be done for local government. The recommendations were tabled every year but he had focused on those that analysed the DEA and its entities for the last three years. Research was done and recommendations were submitted, but there were different submissions.

The Chair asked DEA to respond to the FFC presentation.

Mr Riaan Aucamp, Acting Director-General, DEA, said that the DEA had held roadshows to engage local government on its part in addressing environmental issues. DEA also had a good relationship with the Department of Cooperative Governance, to assist in dealing with issues at local level. Ring-fencing had been done with regard to waste management, and it would be possible to ring-fence grant funding. DEA acknowledged the recommendations from the FFC.

He commented on the overall target performance. DEA had 169 targets in total, and 12 targets were still in progress, 150 had been achieved and five were not achieved.

Mr Hadebe asked whether the performance based conditional grants mentioned on slide 25 had been researched.

The Chairperson said that DEA needed to explain, at a later stage, its plan for dealing with climate change.

The Chairperson thanked FFC, whose information would assist the Committee with the process of oversight. He requested that the next presentation should focus on the challenges faced, achievements and the issues raised by the Auditor-General.

South African National Parks (SANParks) on its 2014/15 Annual Report
Ms Joanne Yawitch, Board Chairperson, SANParks, briefed the Committee on the organisational issues which were currently facing the organisation. She said that the current Board came into effect on 1 April 2015, and from the handover package meeting it was decided that issues which the previous Board had cited needed to be addressed in this year, along with other issues which the previous Board had not cited. The new board initiated a review process of the organisation.

There were five distinct issues that the Board had, as its main focus.
In relation to issues of governance, she said that there should be a tightening of procurement, authority delegation process and risk management, through the creation of a robust risk matrix.

In relation to transformation, there was a need to create a comprehensive approach to addressing transformation issues. Management needed to develop a strategy on how to address this.

The Board was considering the revenue position, in particular whether it should table a change to becoming a section 3(b) entity. There needed to be less dependence on the fiscal transfer from DEA

In relation to land claims and rhino pouching, it was recommended that management must visit the Kruger Park to assess the progress with combating rhino poaching. There needed to be more coordination between SANParks and the Security cluster on the security and intelligence issues. Indigenisation of the SANParks had to be prioritised, to dis-incentivise collaboration between locals and poachers

There were still some irregularities that were identified by the previous board which were still to be investigated but this would take place in the next financial year.

Mr Fundisile Mketeni, Chief Executive Officer, SANParks, presented on the performance of the entity. He focussed on specific targets which were not achieved. Firstly, he said that the fund-raising income target was not met and he cited the economic climate in South Africa as a major contributing factor to this. Strategic Objective 4 - effective management of national parks – fell short on the total area of rehabilitation of land from alien crops, and this was due to reprioritisation of follow-ups to land that had already been cleared. There was an important need to facilitate this process to succession. The target for the census of animal and plant populations was not quite achieved, because of limited resources to conduct all censuses. The target on rhino poaching was not achieved because it was not properly defined and was hard to measure.

In regard to rhino poaching he cited the following points:

  • Average annual growth of rhino mortality in Kruger National Park (KNP) between the years 2011/12 and 2014/15 was 58.1%
  • There was a 222.1% (607 in number) increase in the total number of rhino deaths between 2011/12 and 2014/15, and there were 828 in 2014/15 alone
  • On average, 2.40 rhino were killed per day in 2014 /15, compared to 1.69 per day in 2013/14

The current interventions in place for Rhino Poaching included:

  • Strategic Rhino Translocation Programme (moving from hotspots, and addressing sales)
  • Increase of capacity (150 rangers recruited in the KNP in past four  years)
  • Improvement to technological capacity (aerial support, testing UAVs, canine unit)
  • Fund raising from external partners
  • Implementation of the Intensive Protection Zone (KNP-IPZ) and additional deployment of resources
  • Signing of the international agreements (MOUs)
  • Cross border cooperation with Mozambique authorities

He then spoke to the transformation goals of SANPARKS, and said the target of permanent job creation was not met. It was a target where performance was severely low, but he said that SANParks would have to set targets that it could achieve – and that went not only for the transformation, but also disability and women-in-management targets.  The implementation of the skills development programme had also not been met, and there needed to be more planning with the relevant stakeholders in the programme to ensure that commitments were fulfilled. Other targets did not make sense, especially the target on rhino poaching.

In regard to the financial performance he wanted to highlight the action taken to address issues raised by the report of the Auditor-General (AG). He described the issues and SANParks’ response as follows:

1. Irregular spending:

  • On detection of the breakdown of the internal controls, the two suppliers in question were immediately removed from SANParks' supplier database
  • SANParks' Supply Chain Management (SCM) division had implemented a management review process to check suppliers on the National Treasury (NT) database for legitimacy
  • SANParks' SCM division had implemented a frequent review process to remove suppliers from the database who were listed as “restricted” on the NT database
  • Management had flagged this area to be reviewed by Internal Audit to test the internal controls for its effectiveness

There had been a decision to reconstitute the bid adjudication board which would handle and verify suppliers with National Treasury database, before a tender was approved. The individuals who were involved with the irregular spending were dismissed. This emphasised the governance issues that Ms Yawitch cited earlier, which had resulted in this irregular spending.

2. Wasteful and Fruitless Spending

  • Interest due to creditors (R1.2 million): Staff had been made aware that in the event of a postal strike, they must request the supplier to use alternative methods of delivery of its invoices, such as courier and email. In addition, staff had been trained to regularly follow-up suppliers for outstanding invoices
  • Interest owned to SARS: Management will in future verify with SARS all tax amendments for their applicability to SANParks
  • Cash Embezzlement (R1.5 million):
    - The monthly bank reconciliation was now being reviewed and signed-off by line management, who would take accountability for ensuring that all reconciliations were performed properly. A strict review of reconciliations was conducted monthly by head office
    - Internal Audit conducted a periodic review of the reconciliations
    - Any material differences were investigated immediately by management and corrective actions would be taken
    - Responsible staff members were subjected to disciplinary hearings and dismissed
  • Stock Loss (R1,3 million):
  • General inventory controls had been improved in both the warehouse and filling stations, with more oversight being exercised
  • Staff had been trained and were monitored
  • Management review of stock count results was now being performed monthly
  • Stock losses were investigated monthly by management and reported on for corrective action
  • In the medium to long term, SANParks would need to automate its inventory systems, by digital migration

He then moved on to performance issues. He noted that there were issues of compliance with predetermined objectives.

In this regard, he noted that the first target was problematic because it was supposed to measure the number of black people, through the trends observed by management and staff of parks. However, the AG had a problem with using this method of collecting data because there was no way to collect that information without looking at trends, as it was a sensitive issue. He said SANParkmanagement would need to develop an indicator descriptor in a manner that reflected black visitor trends rather than absolute figures.

It was reported that performance targets not measurable included the combating rhino poaching target. In the Annual Performance Plan, there was an administrative error, and the performance target did not correlate to the performance indicator. Management would critically review the performance indicators against the performance target before finalisation of the Annual Performance Plan. The incidence against birth rate was a poor indicator. Management therefore needed to create new indicators to monitor the numbers gained and lost, and future interventions into poaching would be directed by that information.

In relation to non-compliance with legislation, there were problems with IT governance. Firstly, the Terms Of Reference for the ICT Steering Committee were not developed. This had now been addressed, and new terms of reference were approved by Exco, and the ICT Steering Committee was now functioning.

Similar problems had been apparent with the ICT strategy not reviewed and approved, but that had also now been done, and it would be tabled to the Audit and Risk Committee in November 2015, and to the Board on 4 January 2016, for approval.

There had not formerly been an approved Information Security Policy in line with COBIT and other best practice standards. This had now been rectified and the new policy was submitted to the IT Steering Committee. The IT Steering Committee had requested a generic Information Security Policy to be developed and submitted for approval to EXCO, the Audit and Risk Committee and the Board. The target date for completion of this was March 2016.

There had not been a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan, but this was now being developed for submission to Exco, the Audit and Risk Committee, and the Board, for approval. An ICT  Service Continuity Plan had meantime been approved by Exco, in July 2015.  The ICT Disaster Recovery Plan was approved at Exco, in July 2015. The target date for completion was April 2016.

Previously, in the HR system, the user account management processes were inadequately designed and/or implemented on VIP, resulting in inappropriate user access to the HR management system. That had now been reviewed and the appropriate changes were implemented, to limit access and to maintain an audit trail. Management has flagged this, and Internal Audit would be asked to conduct periodic reviews to ensure that user access was appropriate and in line with user needs.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that there needed to be a framework to allow the board members and the Chairpersons of boards of entities to interact with Parliament. Boards were the accounting body in the entities, and it was important that all chairpersons should be able to engage to the same level as just shown by Ms Yawitch.

Mr Mketeni said that the issue raised by the Chairperson would be included in the APP for the following year.

Mr Hadebe welcomed the initiative by the Board of SANParks to have an organisational review. He said that it made him uncomfortable that guests were asked to declare their race, and that this should be a target for SANParks, and he agreed that ideally a different approach was needed. He asked if there was a strategy to deal with wildlife crime.

Mr Makhubele said the findings of the AG showed some regression, but the presentation was good. He asked whether SANParks was paying property rates to municipalities, and if not, what the effect was on the municipalities. He said that transformation could not be an open-ended process, and targets should indicate progress. He wondered if all issues cited in the Annual Report would be addressed, not only those relating to IT.

The Chairperson agreed with the AG about the fact that the indicator on slide 25 was not measurable and thus it would be best to add sustainability and wildlife crime to the targets. The indicator did not speak to the threat under which species were placed, but hindrances to addressing poaching, and something was needed to address the rise in poaching. He asked why this indicator was created in the first place. He then noted that slide 23 set out that a baseline for 24 000 hectares of land to be cleared of alien vegetation. The explanation for why this was not met was not satisfactory, as prioritisation of something else should not interfere with the target. He urged a focus on clearing these new areas.

The Chairperson asked how, in relation to slide 24, the figure of 89% achievement was calculated if SANParks had been unable to capture the numbers for animals in the parks. He wondered how the sustainability of rhinos was going to be tracked, and what methodology was used. If no census took place, then he asked how SANParks would know the amounts. If there were reports that rhino were extinct, then he asked how SANParks could be sure about the numbers, and whether there was any scientific verification.

He agreed that the issue of employing people with disabilities was problematic, as the target set by SANParks was not aligned to government priorities, and targets for women and those with disabilities appeared to be discriminatory.

Mr Makhubele noted that the baseline for people living with disabilities was 0,6%, but asked what informed this, and what were the numbers for disabled people being employed.

The Chair asked whether SANParks was using different categories of disability when assigning employment.

Mr Mketeni said that SANParks was paying property rates and that the parks were measuring the trends of people who visited the parks; it was not asking individuals to account for their racial category when visiting the parks, but the staff of the SANParks were observing trends. This indicator was important because it would assist in the attempts to change the demographics on visitor numbers and he reminded the Committee that the ultimate goal was to make all parks accessible to the public.

Mr Hadebe was not happy with the response on racial categorisation.

Ms Lize McCourt, Chief Operations Officer, SANParks, said there was a targeted effort to increase the number of black people who visited the parks, as the current general trend was for predominantly white visitors. The problem with the target had been that the AG found it not verifiable, and it was this aspect of measuring by verifiable means that would have to change, to comply with the AG's requirements.

Mr Hadebe said he was still very uncomfortable about the target.

The Chairperson explained that the focus would be on visitor trends rather than individual declarations of racial group.

Mr Mketeni said that there was low public confidence in the rhino efforts. Kruger National Park was an “organised crime hotspot” and thus the whole security cluster needed to be fully informed and involved in addressing the situation there. There were developments in how wild life crime scenes were handled, through collaboration between SANParks and the security cluster. Another issue was land use compatibility. Here, there was a policy on wild-life donation to land that was no longer being used by communities. The DEA was seeking a decrease in the killing of wild life, by developing communities and highlighting the vulnerability to wildlife crime. In relation to land rehabilitation the target would have to be changed, in consultation with DEA. Monitoring of biodiversity in parks would be done with a rhino census  every year, and a monitoring process for other animals and plants.

The Chairperson reiterated that the disability employment target should be 2%, in line with government objectives.

Ms McCourt said that at the beginning of the year, an internal audit was performed to evaluate whether the vacancies were suitable for disabled candidates – and this was looked at across a variety of categories of disability. The target on female employment would be moved from 35% to 50%. There were already staff in positions, and minorities were also being looked at. This was not a target that looked only to vacant posts. National Treasury did not want a growth of establishment but the filling of existing vacancies was important. The new approach to creating permanent employment was through partnerships with small business, in order to utilise SANParks' buying power to facilitate employment.

Ms McCourt noted that page 80 of the AR spoke to the issue of rhino poaching and page 81 discussed the target on black visitors and the new processes of measurement that needed to be implemented. The new process would be created in close conjunction with the Office of the Auditor General. Internal audit was present, as set out in the Annual Report. The numbers of disabled employees at SANParks was given on page 65.

The Chairperson thanked her for that response but emphasised again that people with disabilities needed to be taken seriously, and that staff composition needed to reflect national demographics.

Mr Mketeni said that some individual regions had exceeded the 2% target.

Mr Aucamp noted that the Minister had an agreement with the Department of Cooperative Government. All parks should be paying their municipal bills.

Mr Rajesh Mahabeer, Chief Financial Officer, SANParks, said that the entity had a very transparent approach. Most of the issues lay with Supply Chain Management, and this was being urgently addressed.

Mr Makhubele asked whether the franchises that operated in SANParks were black owned, pointing out that ownership of franchises also needed to transform.

Mr Mketeni said that management would look into this but advocacy was being done to get more black investment in the Parks.

The Chairperson repeated the need for transformation and a review of the adjudication process in order to address preferential procurement. Wildlife crime also needed to be addressed decisively and there needed to be greater partnership with neighbouring countries and a push towards indigenous ownership of parks.

Mr Mketeni said there also should be a process of declaration on the casualties and deaths incurred in the fight against wildlife crime in the Kruger National Park. The matter was politically sensitive, and it was important that Parliament address it.

The Chairperson welcomed the request and thanked the presenters for their presentations.

The meeting was adjourned.

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