The managing executive of Kruger National Park (KNP), Glenn Phillips, has resigned from South African National Parks (SANParks) after 16 years of service, reports Lowvelder.
SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni announced the news on Friday, and lauded Phillips for his services rendered.
“During his tenure as managing executive of tourism, Glenn was instrumental in building sound relationships with the tourism industry, implementing responsible tourism principles, streamlining reservation processes as well as the successful implementation of Public-Private Partnerships.”
In addition, during his tenure in KNP, he led and guided the revision of the park’s management plan based on an integrated landscape approach. It resulted in the signing of a cooperative agreement between all state and privately-owned conservation areas open to the KNP’s western boundary.
This agreement puts in place a collaborative approach which seeks to stimulate socio-economic development in the region, based on sound environmental management and accountable governance. “His visionary leadership, passion and commitment to SANParks and conservation will be sorely missed,” said Mketeni.
Phillips has cited personal reasons for his decision, and expressed pride in the fact that he had the privilege of working with a team of dedicated rangers and conservationists during the past four years.
“Despite all odds and at massive personal cost, they managed to reduce the poaching of rhino in KNP.”
He said that although the battle is far from over, without the efforts of these dedicated individuals, the situation would be far worse than it currently is.
Mketeni will act as managing executive of the KNP until a suitable replacement has been found.
Phillips was appointed on a five-year contract early in 2015, after the position had been vacant since April 2014 when the former managing executive, Abe Sibiya, left.
Strike action plagued Phillips’ last few months at KNP, with striking employees demanding higher wages in July.
Workers on strike included rangers, field guides, cleaners and security guards.
Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) rejected SANParks’ new offer of a 6.1 percent salary increase and a 1 percent salary progression for qualifying employees, said Hospersa general secretary Noel Desfontaine. The union had initially demanded a 9 percent salary increase when it first downed tools. That demand was later lowered to 7.5 percent.
Additional reporting by Nica Schreuder and African News Agency (ANA)