Provincial DA leader Anthony Benadie said that more than 4 500 cattle have been spotted grazing at many of the provincial parks, including Songimvelo near Badplaas, and Mkhombo and Mdala near Vaalbank.
“It seems that the cattle are steadily taking over grazing in our province’s nature reserves, far outnumbering wildlife.
"We are calling on the MEC for economic development and tourism, Norman Mokoena, to take proper action as the sustainability of this practice is cause for concern,” said Benadie on Friday.
Benadie said, for example, Mkhombo Nature Reserve had about 940 wild animals and more than 1 970 head of cattle.
He said Mdala and Songimvelo had a combined number of about 2 500 cattle.
The DA had already submitted formal questions to Mokoena, asking him to provide a detailed list of remaining wildlife and cattle, either grazing, or permanently inhabiting the provincial nature reserves.
"We have also asked Mokoena to provide ownership details of the cattle as well as [an explanation as to] why they were to be found in the parks," said Benadie.
He said the party had also asked Mokoena about measures that had been put in place to control or reduce the number of cattle in the reserves to ensure the sustainable co-existence of cattle and wildlife.
Mpumalanga Tourism And Parks Agency (MTPA) spokesperson Kholofelo Nkambule said the agency would respond to questions from African Eye News Service on Monday.
“I have received your e-mail and have forwarded it to the relevant people, but we will only be able to respond on Monday,” said Nkambule.
Spokesperson in Mokoena's office, Selvy Mohlala, was not available for comment as his cellphone rang unanswered on Friday.