Kgatleng Beef Producers Association (KBPA) has expressed concern about the impending overstocking of cattle in their area, which would have adverse impact on the environment.
The association has on several occasions approached the Kgatleng Land Board about the issue with no positive feedback as the land board has never addressed the issue or responded to any communication that has been forwarded to their office. KBPA has now placed their hopes on the Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele for intervention. The association is however racing against time as the land board has short-listed people and is undertaking interviews on allocating livestock water points in Kgatleng.
Last year the association wrote to the land board Secretary, Abednico Maphuru expressing concern about the advertised invitations for application for livestock water points. KBPA Chairman, Dr Christopher Tsopito through a letter to the land board decried lack of consultation by the land board on new developments that could affect adjacent stakeholders. These, he maintains, are procedures stipulated in the land board’s requirements for new land allocations.“Our members in the affected borehole syndicates have come to voice complaints regarding the decision by Kgatleng Land Board to go ahead with this decision without consulting the syndicates surrounding the water points,” he stated.
The association argues that the current six kilometre radius between boreholes has not considered syndicates already within stated radius, a factor which had led these cattle from these syndicates encroaching on adjacent boreholes’ grazing rights and thus leading to overstocking and reduced carrying capacities in those adjacent boreholes.
Dr Tsopito says such borehole syndicates as Tlhagale, Monametsana, Ditladi, Moduane and Monoga on the western side of A1 road and railway line and Morekhuru, Dikgama and Sesobane on the eastern side use other boreholes’ grazing rights leading to overstocking.
“Livestock census figures compiled by Department of Veterinary Services (Kgatleng) should be used to determine the current stocking rates and carrying capacities given the various livestock species utilizing the areas. The area is overstocked and overgrazed. The vegetation distribution in these areas should also be considered since there is a lot of bush encroachment,” revealed Dr Tsopito.
It appears the lands ministry has turned a blind eye on the request by the association for intervention. According to the association Chairman, the ministry has not replied to their letter of December last year. In a follow up letter of March this year, the association requested an urgent intervention by the ministry as the Kgatleng Land board has denied them audience on the allocation of watering points. The contention by the association is that there has been an inadequate assessment of the intended land use given the current rangeland assessment criteria provided by the Range Ecology Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Principal Scientific Officer at the Department of Animal Production- Ministry of Agriculture, John Mothetho told this publication that his office is not aware of the concerns raised by the association. He said when such an allocation is made their involvement is where they deal with range resources that livestock could use. “But the only difference is that we cannot quantify such resource. When we do quantify it is done in general terms. The issue could have not reached our office probably on the basis that it was dealt with at district level”; he said adding that Ecology Unit has since been moved to the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism. Officials at the Kgatleng Veterinary office could not be reached for comment. Minister Maele said he could not comment at press time because he was still in a meeting.