Acting CEO at SANParks a real powerhouse

Nomvuselelo Songelwa, or Mvusy as she is known by her colleagues, was born in Qumbu village in the Eastern Cape almost fifty years ago.

She boasts a BSc in Natural Science and won some prestigious awards including the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program and the 2004 Women in Science Award.

She registered at the Witwatersrand University and used the “sandwich” programme to go overseas where she did experiential learning in USA, Europe, the Philippines and in Africa particularly the local land reform programme in Zimbabwe.

She completed her PhD in Agrarian & Land Reform and her dissertation was titled “A Gender Analysis of the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development Programme: A case study in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.” She started working for SANParks as far back as 1996 and has gone up the ladder.

From working at Golden Gate and Table Mountain Her position concentrated on the inclusion of communities surrounding the parks and to expose them to what the parks can offer in terms of education and recreation.

After leaving SANParks in 2001, she was employed back in 2005 as a Regional Manager in Garden Route. As a Managing Executive: Parks at SA National Parks, Dr Songelwa’s primary responsibilities among others is provision of strategic and operational support for Parks Division of the organization (responsible for 21 National Parks, distributed across the 7 provinces of the country).

These exclude the Kruger National Park. Recent achievements within the organization encompass the development of divisional 5- year Strategic Plan, coordination of the Park Planning Framework, and overseeing the development / review and implementation of Park Management Plans.

Her experience and rich expertise in the area of park management and tourism, has seen successful consolidation, establishment and proclamation of the Garden Route National (consisting of Tsitsikamma, Knysna, Wilderness and the Forestry Areas), where she was the Regional Manager.

This is one area that has been instrumental in guiding the development of the South African National ‘Guidelines for the Development of Park Management Plans for Protected Areas’. In October 2012, Mvusy presented ‘A Planning Framework for National Parks: Improving Governance’ at the First Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management in African National Parks and Protected Areas hosted by UNWTO.

Her exposure in Tourism has been through management of National Parks for over a decade.

Her experience and rich expertise in the area of park management and tourism, has seen successful consolidation, establishment and proclamation of the Garden Route National (consisting of Tsitsikamma, Knysna, Wilderness and the Forestry Areas), where she was the Regional Manager.

She was subsequently appointed as a Senior General Manager for Parks which she was primarily responsible for developing and monitoring strategy for the Parks (other than KNP).

Her interests include strategic planning, Women in Leadership, Rural development, public speaking, facilitation and people management.

She is currently enrolled as part of the Global Executive Development Program with Gordon Institute Business School Dr Songelwa confesses that she is a dreamer and not a business person and that her strong points are really with people, which is what she believes has made her to thrive within SANParks.

“I like to unleash the potential in others”. The meaning of her name, ‘to revive’, is a legacy she lives to uphold.

Dr Songelwa will return to her current position at SANParks, until the appointment of the new CE is in place. She replaced Abe Sibiya after his tenure came to an end on 30 September 2014.

 
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796  Rhinos lost in 2016
 
1175  rhinos  lost in 2015
 
1218 rhinos slaughtered  in 2014
 
1004 Rhino lost forever in 2013
 
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Proud winner of the

2013 SANParks Kudu Award

Proud winner of the 2013

GRAA Rhino Conservation Award

 

 

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