Isaac Phaahla, general manager of marketing and communication of the Kruger National Park (KNP) insists that Glenn Phillips is only on leave, and would be back in office on Monday. But whether Phillips is on leave voluntarily or forced, remains the question, reports Lowvelder.
It is alleged by some that he had asked for leave while an investigation against him was being executed.
The investigation is said to be related to a complaint sent by black employees to management and a minister, claiming that the park is rife with racism and inequality.
Two articles to this regard were recently published in a national newspaper. One of the articles also alleged that black people are often accused of rhino poaching, and get assaulted by rangers and police to force them into confessing.
SANParks had denied those allegations at the time.
Rumours about a suspension or investigation started to emerge last week, and intensified after a privately organised fundraising event where Phillips would have been the guest speaker was suddenly cancelled on Friday.
The event, organised by the Positivity Foundation, would have taken place at Emnotweni on Wednesday and was supported by SPEAR and KLCBT.
Phillips was advertised as being “the man with the answers” on issues including rhino poaching, possible mining in the KNP, animals crossing the borders to Mozambique, the new hotel in Skukuza, the possibility of more hotels and a possible rise in elephant poaching.
The original advertising of the event provoked severe dismay on a social media group called “Concerned Sanparks Stakeholders,” and according to the organiser, KNP notified him late on Thursday that they have cancelled Phillips’ appointment because of that.
According to Phaahla, however, the cancellation is due to neglect by the organiser himself.
“He did not inform Phillips that it was a paying event, neither did he consult him on the subject matters to be discussed.”
Phaahla said the SANParks logo was also used without permission.
“After careful consideration, Phillips decided against participation.”