Profile of the Municipality

The Ngwathe Local Municipality is situated in the northern part of Fezile Dabi District Municipality. The major towns that form Ngwathe Local Municipality’s areas of jurisdiction include Parys, Vredefort, Heilbron, Koppies and Edenville. The former Transitional Local Councils and section of the former Koepel, Kroonkop and Vaal Dam Transitional Rural Councils also form part of the Ngwathe area. The Vaal River forms the northern boundary of the area, which also serves as the boundary between the Free State and Gauteng and North West Province. The Renoster River also drains through the region and is dammed up in the vicinity of Koppies in a series of dams, namely Weltevrede, Rooipoort and Koppies Dams. The rivers together with the respective dams are prominent water sources for agricultural purposes in the region.

Other prominent topographical features include the Vredefort Dome. The form of the dome consists of a central cone of granite surrounded by concentric ridges of quartzite belonging to the Witwatersrand System. 20.1% of the district population of the Fezile Dabi district is based in Ngwathe. The 2007 Community Survey (Statistics South Africa) estimated the total population in the municipal area as 95 187 which constitutes a decrease from the 2001 Census estimation of 118 810. The Survey also indicates that Ngwathe Municipality has the highest rate (60.9%) in the Fezile Dabi district reflecting the tenure status of households as owned and fully paid.

Parys has a strong commercial component and provide a wide range of services regarding health, education and professional services to the district. The Parys district has unique nature and environmental assets like the Vaal River with several islands in the proximity of Parys and the Vredefort Dome that present exceptional tourism potential. Parys has a well-developed airfield that supports commercial and tourism development in the area. Vredefort is the only town that formed the former Vredefort District. The most prominent economic sector is the agricultural sector. Commercial activities in the town are the only other sector that contributes to the Gross Geographical Product of the district. The former Heilbron District is predominantly an agricultural area although major manufacturing industries contribute largely to the Gross Geographical Product of the district. The agriculture and manufacturing industries have a direct influence on the per capita expenditure and employment opportunities of the urban area concerned. The national head office of Clover SA is based in Heilbron and a vast range of products is manufactured here.

Koppies is located in an area of agricultural significance and mainly provides services in this regard to the surrounding rural areas. The three well-established and developed irrigation schemes subsequently enhance the agricultural character of the area. The strategic location of Koppies between the larger centres of Kroonstad and Sasolburg, mainly influence growth and development within the community. The bentonite exploitation near Koppies and the initiative for coal mining in the vicinity of the town provide significant future growth potential. Koppies is becoming known for its tourist attractions. Specific reference is made to the R82 Battlefield Route that consists of several historical battlefields that are envisaged to be further developed, as well as the Koppies Dam Nature Reserve. Edenville is also located in an area of agricultural significance. The main road linking Kroonstad and Heilbron, runs adjacent to the area.