Xhariep District Municipality
the Allemanskraal Dam, the Goldfields Wine Cellar in Theunissen and the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve.
Towns: Trompsberg, Zastron, Philipollis, Smithfield, Wepener The southernmost region of the Free State is a largely dry area with open grasslands predominating, although it is also home to the Gariep Dam, South Africa’s largest dam. The dam is also the site of small hydro-power and aquaculture projects. The nearby Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve and the Mynhardt Game Reserve are popular. Crops are produced in the northern parts of the district and sheep farming is the biggest activity in the south. Diamonds, gravel and clay are mined at Koffiefontein. Jagersfontein is one of the first places where diamonds were found.
Fezile Dabi District Municipality
Towns: Sasolburg, Parys, Kroonstad, Frankfort, Heilbron, Viljoenskroon The chemical complex at Sasolburg is the economic driver in the district, which shares a border with Gauteng province along the Vaal River. Kroonstad is the district’s second-largest town and has a number of engineering works and a railway junction. A good proportion of South Africa’s grain crop is sourced from this district and when the vast fields of sunflowers and cosmos flowers are in bloom, a marvellous vista is created. The Vaal River presents opportunities for yachting, rafting and resort-based enterprises. Parys is a charming town and Vredefort is home to a World Heritage site – the Vredefort Dome where a meteor crashed to earth. Fezile Dabi District Municipality is the biggest contributor towards the provincial GDP, contributing approximately 35%. The Fezile Dabi area is mostly dominated by the industrial power of Sasol, with the manufacturing of refined petroleum, coke and chemical products adding largely to its GDP.
Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality
Towns: Phuthaditjhaba, Bethlehem, Ladybrand, Clarens, Harrismith, Ficksburg Tourism and fruit farming are the two principal economic activities of this area which is characterised by beautiful landscapes: the Maluti and the Drakensberg mountain ranges, wetlands in the north, well-watered river valleys and the plains of the north and west. The most famous asset is the Golden Gate National Park. Industrial activity is undertaken at Harrismith and Phuthaditjhaba, where the Free State Development Corporation is promoting investment. The Maluti-a-Phofung Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Harrismith is a multimodal transport and logistics hub. The commercial centre of the district is Bethlehem while Clarens and Ficksburg have become famous for their artists and cherries respectively. ■
The Early Childhood Development Centre at Zamdela in Sasolburg is supported by Sasol. Image: Sasol
Lejweleputswa District Municipality
Towns: Welkom, Virginia, Boshof, Christiana, Bultfontein, Bothaville Mining is the most important economic activity in this area, also known as the Free State Goldfields, but it is also the most important maize-growing area in South Africa. A large natural gas field has been discovered on what used to be gold turf. Bothaville hosts the annual NAMPO maize festival and the headquarters of Grain SA. Welkom is the major urban centre in the district. The area has tourist assets such as a holiday resort on FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021