A sterling job in leading research that is protecting South Africa’s natural resources has finally paid off. Water Research Commission Research (WRC) Manager, Mr Bonani Madikizela was recently recognised by South African environmental NGO WESSA, who presented him with an honorary lifetime achievement award at their 90th Anniversary celebration held in Skukuza, Kruger National Park.
The WESSA Award Ceremony on Saturday, 17 September 2016, celebrated 90 years of the organisation’s existence under the WESSA motto ‘Caring for the Earth’.
Madikizela was amongst those selected for one of the ’90 Lifetime Conservation Achiever Awards’ , a category which was introduced for the occasion and which provided a unique opportunity to acknowledge 90 living individuals who have dedicated their lives to conservation in South Africa.
The prestigious event paid special tribute to a wide range of outstanding environmental achievements. The Lifetime 90 Achievement Award presented to Madikizela was in recognition of his sterling work in fighting against the degradation of South Africa’s freshwater ecosystems and for the restoration of biodiversity in natural resources.
Madikizela has spent more than 20 years working with natural resources, focusing in particular on water resource quality and bio-monitoring with respect to inland freshwater ecosystems such as rivers, dams and wetlands. Madikizela is a research manager in the Water Resources unit at the WRC, and has previously worked at the Departments of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs. As WRC research manager Madikizela’s role includes prioritizing, supporting, and coordinating research done by a variety of organizations and independent consultants across South Africa.
Due to historic lack of attention to wetland health and biophysical integrity, Madikizela’s focus is currently biased towards wetlands and also includes river rehabilitation, with the intention to provide methods and guidelines that ensure sustainable utilisation of these resources, but without furthering biodiversity loss. This quest has led to interactions with experts in aquatic ecosystem research and development at national and international levels.
WRC CEO Mr Dhesigen Naidoo said, “We congratulate Madikizela for receiving such a prestigious award, which positions the WRC personnel as leaders in the applicability of research that is managed in a way that encourages exploratory and innovative investigations.”
While expressing his gratitude for the award, Madikizela said,” The 90 Lifetime Conservation Achiever Award means a lot in boosting one’s self esteem. Even more inspiring is to be recognised at the time when the country is in dire need of water specialists that need to be turning their heads around due to the ongoing water scarcity challenges facing South Africa”.
For more information on the WESSA Annual Awards visit www.wessa.org.za