All provincial parks managed by Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) are closed until an ongoing employee strike – which started yesterday (April 6) – has been resolved.
“All MTPA offices are closed, as are all tourist facilities and parks,” said Senior Manager: Communications for MTPA, Kholofelo Nkambule, highlighting that tour buses were being turned away at the provincial park gates.
“Private reserves in Mpumalanga are unaffected and are still receiving visitors,” she added.
Nkambule told Tourism Update the illegal strike was started due to MTPA advertising certain senior posts. “There are people acting in these posts and the union, NEHAWU, believes the posts should have been filled internally before they were advertised,” she explained.
According to her, the unions refuse to discuss the matter directly with MTPA and have subsequently called on the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Jabu Mahlangu, to intervene.
“We are thus waiting to hear from the union once they have met with the MEC,” said Nkambule. She said MTPA had sent a letter of warning to NEHAWU over the illegal strike, adding that they hoped to resolve the matter amicably.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and will advise as soon as the parks are open again,” said Nkambule. She said the loss of much-needed revenue to maintain the parks was a challenge for the authority, especially after a year of disruption due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Provincial parks managed by MTPA include Blyde River Canyon. Manyeleti, Mkhombo, Loskop Dam and Barberton.