Two Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) staff members walked away with Excellent Performance in the Workplace awards from this year’s SANParks Frontier Regional Achievement Awards. The awards evening take place annually, and gives recognition to individuals, teams and parks for outstanding service in the previous financial year – in this case 2016/17. The Frontier Region is made up of the Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks.
Akhona Sangoni, a Receptionist at AENP’s Matyholweni entrance, was nominated by her supervisor, Einett Mendela, for making positive and lasting impressions on all visitors to the front office. “Her friendliness, enthusiasm and professionalism is a true asset to the Park. She is able to multi-task, manages her time well and always ensures that her work is of the highest standard. Akhona is passionate about her job and takes great pride in all she does,” said Einett.
Meanwhile, Michael Paxton, a Section Ranger in the Conservation Department, was nominated by his superior, Anban Padayachee, for his dedication and commitment to rhino conservation and conservation as a whole. “Michael consistently works extra hours without compensation and is often called upon to stand if for his seniors. He takes responsibility of ensuring that high-value game species are safely accommodated in the boma’s when needed. Michael is a dedicated and committed conservationist, with a wealth of knowledge and experience,” said Anban. This is the third regional award for Michael, in three different categories, over the past five years.
The Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) staff returned from the annual SANParks Frontier Region Achievement Awards with no less than four awards this year. The awards evening takes place annually and gives recognition to individuals, teams and parks for outstanding service in the previous financial year – in this case 2016/17. The Frontier Region is made up of the Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks.
Receptionist, Jeanie Botha, received the award for Best Customer Service. In nominating her, Duty Manager, Vuyani Dial, wrote “Jeanie is one of the Park’s most dedicated, professional and friendly staff members. She is always welcoming to guests and ensures they are provided with all the relevant information they need to enhance their stays. Jeanie anticipates challenges before they arise and always does her best to solve these. She is an exceptional asset to the Park and SANParks as a whole.”
The other individual award went to Park Manager, Megan Taplin. She took home the award for Best Leadership of the Year. Her staff members nominated her for consistently demonstrating consistent and exceptional leadership qualities. “She communicates well with her staff members – keeps them informed at all times and listens to what they have to say equally well. She motivates by leading by example and providing guidance and opportunities for staff to use their initiative or suggest improved ways of doing things. She is commended for her flexibility, vision and goal setting,” they said.
The Park also won two group awards, the first being Best Performing Camp of the Year. Positive visitor book comments of 90% is proof that customer satisfaction is key in the day-to-day operations at MZNP. The Rest Camp performed excellently in terms of financial results as well as customer service and the friendliness and efficiency of staff, cleanliness of accommodation, the standard of guided activities offered and an improvement in the restaurant and retail offerings to guests.
Finally, each year the Regional General Manager, Dries Engelbrecht, recognises top performing groups or individuals who may not have won a Regional Award, but are still deserving of high praise. This year, one of these awards went to the Park’s Welgedacht Ranger Post. The team, made up of Philip Reen, Andre Gouws and Johannes Dumba are tasked specifically with monitoring the Park’s rhinos and boost its Rhino Protection Plan. In nominating them, Section Ranger, Greg Bond, said “These men are required to work without supervision and in isolation from the rest of the Park’s Ranger Corps. Their superb ability to track animals as well as their knowledge of the bush and animals is commendable. They have become absolutely vital to the Park’s management and protection of the black rhino population and should be recognised for their skill, dedication and vital contribution to conservation.”
The team of nine Environmental Monitors employed at Camdeboo National Park walked away with the prestigious Best Ranger Post of the Year award at this year’s SANParks Frontier Region Achievement Awards. The awards evening takes place annually and gives recognition to individuals, teams and parks for outstanding service in the previous financial year – in this case 2016/17. The Frontier Region is made up of the Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks.
Since their appointment, the team, led by Sergeant James Maarman, has practically eradicated any incidents of illegal activities both within the Park’s borders. Former Park Manager, Nick de Goede, said “Although they live in and work under extreme conditions, they never complain and always strive to do better. They are passionate about their work, sometimes working 18 hour days without complaint – a true example of positive work ethic.”
Camdeboo was known as a crime hotspot with lots of illegal activities such as poaching, fence stealing and cutting, wood collection and illegal fishing. The Environmental Monitors, appointed from KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, have gone from strength to strength over the past two years and have managed to put the brakes on all illegal activities occurring in the Park.
“They have never once complained about their extreme living conditions in the field, even taking in consideration that in summer temperatures reach about 47 degrees C and in winter down to -9 degrees C,” said de Goede.
They guard the new fence line 24 hours a day. They are very passionate about their job and they need to be praised for what they have achieved, concluded de Goede.
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