Municipality: Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality


Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality is situated in the north-eastern Free State between the Orange River in the south and the Vaal River in the north. It nestles in the shade of of the Maluti Mountains and for the most part borders on Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. The district includes the five local municipalities of Dihlabeng, Maluti-a-Phofung, Nketoana, Phumelela, Setsoto as well as the Thabo Mofutsanyana DMA (Golden Gate Highlands National Park).

The municipality is primarily agricultural in nature and most households are found in the rural areas. The main centresin the district are Harrismith, Puthaditjhaba, Bethlehem, Ficksburg, Senekal, Reitz and Warden. The most densely populated local municipality is Maluti-a-Phofung which contains 55,5% of the district's total population. 

Critical infrastructure

The N5 route between Harrismith and Winburg and the R26 from Johannesburg to Bethlehem and Ficksburg are in a poor condition and they carry a large percentage of the traffic through the area. The primary road network (provincial primary, secondary and tertiary) is sufficient but is not well maintained. The condition of roads affects services such as education, health, safety and tourism. Rural areas are particularly affected and farm dwellers suffer as a result of this.

Electricity provision is generally good but there are still imbalances as some previously disadvantaged areas still do not have electricity and rural areas are not well serviced. Power failures are common due to weak networks and limited infrastructure such as substations.


The eastern Free State, a scenic area, is well known for several tourist attractions and features a variety of annual festivals. The area therefore has tremendous tourism potential which should be developed. 

The biggest tourist attraction is the Golen Gate Highlands National Park. 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.


The majority of homes in the urban areas have individual erf water connections, although many are not metered. Bulk water is sufficient in most areas but supply systems are not always adequate. 

Water treatment facilities in some areas are very rudimentary and quality is not always of the required standard. Rural areas are poorly serviced in terms of water and many farm workers have to walk long distances to a water source.

About 58% of residents do not have an acceptable sanitation system (above VIP standard). The district has no regional sewage treatment works. Most towns have their own facilities, many of which require upgrading. Some purification systems are a threat to the environment and are thus in need of urgent attention.

Most urban areas experience a drastic housing backlog due to the influx from rural areas. The provision of housing is closely linked to the provision of services and places tremendous financial pressure on local municipalities which is further impacted by non-payment of services by some residents.