Municipality: Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality


Cnr Moremoholo & Motloung Streets Setsing Business Centre
9870 Phuthaditjhaba , Free State
South Africa
Phone: 058-718-3700
Fax: 058-718-3777
Free State ZA


Maluti-a-Photung Municipality extends over the smallest area in the Thabo Mofutsanyana municipal district but has the highest population density. It accommodates almost 54% of the population of the district municipality. The population is relatively young: almost 50% is younger than 20 years.

The rural landscape is characterised by mixed farming, except in the area surrounding Phuthaditjhaba where communal grazing is practised. 

The Transfrontier Park project links the conservation areas of Maluti-a-Phofung and other parts of the Eastern Free State with KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Lesotho.

Local Economic Development

The directorate is composed of two Divisions namely:
1. Local Economic Development
2. Tourism

Acting Director: Mr. Sipho Mhlambi
Tel: 058-718-3745
Fax: 058-718-3775/7

“To create an enabling environment that provides for economic growth and employment creation to improve the quality of life of our people and become a tourism destination and a productive agricultural area”

“The Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality's LED is committed to promoting quality economic development facilitation and coordination services to its communities by:

  • Facilitating opportunities for SMME's in procurement at MAP; 
  • Supporting the Poverty Alleviation projects; 
  • Facilitating Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing and SMME Development Value Adding and Market Access opportunities; 
  • Developing an Investment Attraction and Marketing Strategy for MAP; 
  • Facilitating for finance, funds and resources from non-governmental, private and donor sectors;
  • Facilitating opportunities for SMME's in procurement at MAP;
  • Attract tourists and investors to the region."

Core Functions of the Directorate

  • SMME Promotion and Support
  • Export Promotion and International Trade; 
  • Community Economic Development (Self-reliance); 
  • Business Retention and Expansion; 
  • Industrial Recruitment and Place Marketing; 
  • Tourism; 
  • Environmental Management. 


  • Infrastructural Development; 
  • Informal Trade Policies and By-laws; 
  • Rural Development; 
  • Trade Promotion; 
  • Economic Policy Formulation; 
  • Investment Promotion.


  • Infrastructural Development; 
  • Identify, Upgrading and Establishment of Tourism facilities; 
  • Tourism Sector Plans and Promotion Policies; 
  • Marketing Plans, Events and Exhibitions; 
  • Strategic Environmental Management Plan; 
  • Integrated Waste Management Plan; 
  • Promoting Environmental Awareness and Environmental Education. 

Critical infrastructure

There are three urban nodes in Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality. Kestell is 44km west of Harrismith along the N5 national road and 30km along the R57 north of Phuthaditjhaba, the southernmost point and the urban core of Qwa-Qwa where communal farming is practised on tribal land.

Phuthaditjhaba is well-serviced in terms of infrastructure and housing. 


Platberg Nature Reserve, a mountain located towards the east of Harrismith, forms the main natural feature of the area and is an important landmark.  

Kestell offers tourism potential as an alternative destination to Clarens. It functions mainly as a service centre to the surrounding agricultural community, although Bethlehem and Harrismith, with their greater diversity of goods and services and attractions, exert a stronger pull.
Thabo Mofutsanyana is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the Free State with a production capacity well above average for the Free State. The agricultural sector is responsible for 13% of the GGP of Maluti-a-Phofung but employs only 1.3% of the workforce.


The municipal area contains 220 schools, of which only 11 offer secondary schooling. There is one sepcial school and 12 tertiary institutions. The level of illiteracy is high with 9.3% of people over 21 years of age having no formal education. Almost 22% of children between the ages of 5 and 24 years do not attend school. This fact can be ascribed to poverty, inaccessibility of schools and a large rural population far from facilities.

Maluti-a-Phofung is rated as the most poverty-stricken area in the Free State Province: about 69% of households earn less than R1600 per month. Only about 26% of the workforce is employed. The government sector is the largest employer in the municipal area.

Phuthaditjhaba is the formal gateway to rural Qwa-Qwa. Service provision in the area is difficult - the land is mountainous and homes in remote areas lack access to baisc services. Qwa-Qwa is the poorest area in the Free State Province but the lasting impression is not of poverty but of cultural and environmental uniqueness and an alternative lifestyle.