South African National Parks (SANParks), supported by TotalEnergies and First National Bank (FNB), recognised deserving conservationists at this year’s Kudu Awards ceremony, held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on November 24.
The awards were made possible thanks to forward-thinking and progressive partners who together recognised internal and external stakeholders that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to sustainability and improving livelihoods, achieving real change on the ground in our national parks.
The Kudu Awards and the Chief Executive Awards recognise SANParks employees, as well as multiple stakeholders and disciplines, which play a pivotal role in strengthening conservation in South Africa.
The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park walked away with the best performing park of the year for outstanding staff efficiency, professionalism, excellent customer relations, tirelessly working towards improved tourism and financial health, as well as great stakeholder management.
The second award presented to Tsitsikamma National Park is that of best ranger post of the year for outstanding service to conservation management and the tenacious efforts in maintaining SANParks’ anti-poaching strategy and exceptional area integrity management.
Grant Grootboom, hospitality services manager for Tsitsikamma National Park, and Melanie de Morney, Garden Route bio-technician, both walked away with excellent performance in the workplace awards.
“Congratulations to all the nominees and winners in this year’s SANParks Kudu Awards. TotalEnergies is delighted to be associated with these prestigious awards,” said TotalEnergies Managing Director and CEO, Mariam Kane-Garcia.
“This year marks 64 years of partnering with SANParks in caring for the environment. As TotalEnergies, we continuously place the environmental performance at the heart of our projects and operations. We believe that preserving biodiversity, protecting water resources and practising circular resources management are critical in our efforts towards saving the planet for future generations,” Kane-Garcia added.
“This firm belief in the protection of our environment further drives our ambition to be a major player in the energy transition. We remain committed to the provision of energy that is even more affordable, clean, reliable and accessible to as many people as possible,” said Kane-Garcia.
Sipho Silinda, CEO of FNB Public Sector Banking, said, “The conservation of wildlife feeds directly into the tourism sector, an industry that is currently recovering from the pandemic, remains vibrant, and is a significant contributor to the country’s economic growth. Conservation is one way of ensuring that the tourism sector can continue contributing to economic growth through job creation.
“Moreover, our partnership with SANParks has taught us that environmental awareness is a journey rather than an event. As a result, we understand that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment by actively getting involved in initiatives that are contributing to this cause. It’s all about accountability – one of the core values of FNB,” Silinda said.
“Garden Route National Park is as good as its employees,” said Vuyiswa Radebe, regional general manager for the Garden Route National Park.
“When I walked on stage to accept the team’s well-deserved awards, I felt nothing but pride, joy, and self-effacement because of all the people who wake up every day with a vision and a purpose to serve. I applaud all the women and men who continue to raise the SANParks’ flag higher and higher.
“As the general manager responsible for the Garden Route National Park, I am proud of the team (Tsitsikamma National Park) and Scientific Services for the dedication they continue to show in their various roles. It is true that hard work always leads to success,” Radebe said.
“Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the 16th annual Kudu Awards. To FNB and TotalEnergies, we are walking the journey together and we are grateful for the partnership,” concluded Radebe.