New Municipal Demarcation to Affect Kruger Park

© Shem Compion

The Kruger National Park, which in political terms is currently a managerial district under the Bohlabela Municipality, may soon be divided into two municipal areas, one in Limpopo and the other in Mpumalanga.

Currently the Bohlabela District Municipality consists of Maruleng Municipality, Bushbuckridge Municipality and the Greater Kruger National Park management area. The first two municipalities are both in Limpopo, while the Kruger National Park north of the Olifants River is in Limpopo, the south of the park falls into Mpumalanga. Several people involved in local government have said that the national government is not in favour of cross-border municipalities, and so Bohlabela may cease to exist in its current form.

At a recent District Mayor's awards ceremony it was announced that Bushbuckridge had already been transferred to Mpumalanga. However, cabinet has not yet made this change, as it will entail a legal and administrative process.

Several politicians have stated that the general intention is to place Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge towns into Mpumalanga, where they originally wanted to be when the municipalities were first demarcated. Maruleng Municipality, with its seat in Hoedspruit, will remain in Limpopo, but is likely to become a part of the Mopani District Municipality. Mopani Municipality is administered in Giyani, while Bohlabela's current headquarters are located in Thulamahashe.

There are currently about 10 municipalities in the country, falling under six district municipalities, which are considered to be cross-border municipalities. Five provinces are affected by this, and government is currently reviewing their demarcations.

The political and administrative details will still need to be finalised.

According to William Mabasa, Kruger National Park's head of communications, the park is likely to be divided into north and south, with each section reporting to different district municipalities. Currently provincial services, such as health and education, are already provided by the two different provinces, although the entire park falls into a single municipal area.

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