Question NW641 to the Minister of Environmental Affairs

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12 April 2016 - NW641

Profile picture: Ntobongwana, Ms P

Ntobongwana, Ms P to ask the Minister of Environmental Affairs

(1)With reference to her reply to question 163 on 18 June 2015 and in view of consistent and regular allegations of racism experienced by black employees at the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), with the latest victim being a certain person (name and details furnished), what further steps does she intend to take to ensure that SANBI welcomes talented black persons; (2) whether her department has assessed the exit interviews of black employees who have left SANBI; if not, why not; if so, what steps has she taken with regard to the concerns that the specified persons have raised?


(1) One of the key performance indicators (KPI) and targets in SANBI’s approved Corporate Strategic Plan is the development of black biodiversity professionals. By the year 2019/2020, SANBI’s target is to develop 140 black biodiversity professionals which is on track and consistently monitored and reported on.

  • Recently SANBI, together with partners in the biodiversity sector, has just included implementation of the Groen Sebenza Programme which is a pioneering and innovative initiative that has developed 854 young black biodiversity professionals.
  • Career ladders for scientists and horticulturists were introduced in order to attract, develop and retain black biodiversity professionals.
  • In addition, the following interventions are being implemented to ensure that our black scientists’ careers development paths are supported:

o Staff bursaries towards higher degrees;

o Scientific writing training courses;

o Studentships and Internships programmes;

o Mentorship/coaching; and

o Participation in workshops and conferences (local and international).

(2) The Board of Directors appointed by the Minister provides oversight to SANBI on all organisational matters including human related matters (NEMBA Section 13). The department through its governance protocol with its entities (including SANBI), provides support for the operationalisation of the business processes. In terms of the established governance practices, the current institutional arrangements suffice to enable SANBI to discharge its operational duties including the analysis of the outcomes of exit interviews. The specific matter of Mr Qwede is being addressed by SANBI Management and the department will address the same when it is raised through proper channels.


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