iSimangaliso’s new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sibusiso Bukhosini. Picture: Supplied.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority has a new Chief Executive Officer – and he is committed to steering the iconic World Heritage Site to even greater heights as Africa’s leading conservation and development organisation.

Sibusiso Bukhosini took up the reins this month following his role as Municipal Manager at uMkhanyakude District Municipality and Umhlabuyalingana Local Municipality prior to that. During his tenure as Municipal Manager at Umhlabuyalingana he obtained three clean audits, steering it from a disclaimer and insolvency status into a very liquid and respected municipality. With a Master’s Degree in Environment and Development: Protected Area Management following his Bachelors and Honours degrees, his early work experience also includes dealing with restitution of state managed protected areas, whilst with the then Land Affairs (now DRLR.). Bukhosini later joined Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for nine years in a management position before making the move to local government. He is therefore eminently qualified to take the helm of iSimangaliso with its unique situation of balancing conservation and development in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Declared South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in 1999, the Park’s mandate is to integrate the conservation of the outstanding universal natural values and socio-economic development and redistribution in one of South Africa’s poorest districts, by ensuring that it is a key macro-economic driver within government’s regional development plan.

Bukhosini has hit the ground running in familiarising himself with the key issues facing iSimangaliso.

“The strategy is to synchronise the link between conservation, tourism and stakeholder relations. The transformation agenda seeks to be that one of inclusive economic growth through expanding opportunities for all. In this instance, understanding that our role is conservation, the focus will be to ensure that conservation is not compromised at the expense of development, but it must serve as a catalyst through being able to provide sustainable products for tourism and ecotourism. We will strive to work with other stakeholders and role players in encouraging development in the buffer and terrestrial part of the Park”.

He adds: “In honour of our late Minister, Dr Edna Molewa, we pledge to pick up the baton and ensure that the legacy does not dwindle, through sustaining the values of the World Heritage Site for and with our people in South and Southern Africa and the globe.”