The Kruger National Park (KNP) made an impressive showing at the inaugural award giving ceremony for the South African National Parks (Sanparks) Kudu Awards. They won no less than seven awards and 15 merit awards.
The Kudu Awards are set to be an annual event, honouring people who have made a contribution to conservation, both within Sanparks and from the around the country. Prize winners are given a statue in the shape of a kudu head, derived from the Sanparks logo.
External winners included corporate awards to KPMG and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Ernie Blom, the ex-chairman of the Honorary Rangers, won an individual award for a corporate contribution to conservation.
A media award went to Tumelo Matloha of the SABC. Zanethemba non-profit organisation won the community contributor to conservation award, while Cheryl Ogilvie scooped the environmental educator award. Internal awards within Sanparks were judged from entries from all national parks.
A joint award was given to Helen Mmethi and Solly Temba of the KNP's people and conservation division for being the best constituency builders. They helped communities around the park make a meaningful contribution in the formulation of the park's elephant management strategy.
Thomas Macie and Steven Whitfield were given awards in the best ranger category. Ben van Eeden received an award in the best regional manager category for his creativity and inspiring leadership. Freek Venter won the leadership development award for his building of a strong team of committed officials.
Outstanding service in the workplace awards went to Million Masinga and Phineas Nobela. Million has consistently delivered an exceptionally high standard of electrical maintenance. Phineas deals with contractual reserves in Kruger.
Merit awards went to Mphephu Chauke, Immy Serakalala, Ezrom Mathumbu, Patrick Munyai, Joe Nkuna, Victor Magakoa, Don English, Orbet Mathebula, Lerato Mathole, Simione Mulhovo, Samuel Takadzini, Patson Makhubela, Andrea Mabunda, Solomon Sithole, Flora Hlatshwayo and Gcinaphi Matsebula.