SANParks chief executive officer Fundisile Mketeni. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
SANParks chief executive officer Fundisile Mketeni. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

DA welcomes special leave taken by SANParks CEO over alleged sexual assault charges

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published May 12, 2021

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PRETORIA – The DA has welcomed the decision by South African National Parks chief executive Fundisile Mketeni to take special leave after charges of assault and sexual assault were laid against him.

Mketeni appeared in court earlier this week with two other men also employed by SANParks and a woman who is not a parks employee, on similar charges.

Yesterday, SANParks board chairwoman Joanne Yawitch said in line with the entity’s commitment to ethical conduct and given the seriousness of the allegations, Mketeni had requested to take special leave until the matter was resolved.

SANParks managing executive for conservation services Luthando Dziba has been appointed as acting chief executive.

The DA applauded the move.

“His accuser has alleged that he tried to touch her inappropriately, attempted to kiss and assaulted her. These are serious allegations and the DA fully agrees with his decision to step down while legal proceedings take place,” party spokesman for environment, forestry and fisheries Dave Bryant said.

“We urge the (police) to launch an independent and transparent investigation into these allegations. If Mketeni is found guilty he must face the full might of the law in order to ensure that justice is served.”

The DA said it was necessary for SANParks to appoint a credible, efficient and effective interim chief executive while the investigation was carried out, given that it had numerous challenges that needed to be urgently addressed including a recent fire on Table Mountain – a major tourist attraction – and the rampant poaching of rhinos at Kruger National Park.

Earlier this week another South African chief executive, Adapt IT boss Sbu Shabalala, was similarly granted leave of absence after allegations emerged that he had hired armed thugs to assault his estranged wife’s partner.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa

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