MATJHABENG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY
The municipality is one of the main contributors of the provincial GGP and has a population of more than 400 000 people. It is the main economic, educational and entertainment centre in the district, with amenities that support economic growth; and it comprises six towns and was previously the mining hub.
The key towns comprising of Matjhabeng Municipality are: Welkom, Hennenman, Virginia, Odendaalsrus, Allanridge and Ventersburg, and are briefly described below:
South Africa’s youngest town established around the gold mining industry in 1947. The town sprung up after gold was discovered on a farm called St Helena. The town has grown perhaps with a faster rate as Johannesburg, yet is proud of the fact that its traffic system of traffic circles were so well designed that they still have only a few traffic lights. It is in the Free State the second largest town and the core of the relatively recent geologic windfall of the Free State. An industrial giant, Welkom is one of the few towns in the world in which residential, mining and industrial areas blend harmoniously has good shopping malls and restaurants, an airport and a thriving theatre.
Despite its rapid progress following the gold discoveries of the 1940s, the city has remained a beautiful, tranquil city enhanced by lovely gardens. The Sand River, on which it is set, is ideal for boating, water-skiing, fishing and swimming. A hiking trail along its banks is much frequented by bird-watchers. Nearby, a small game sanctuary supports a variety of antelope.
The town was found due to a decision to ensure the most direct route through the Free Sate to Johannesburg. The railway line would pass through the Free State in as direct a manner as possible. The Ventersburg Rd Station was opened on the 20 February 1892. It was decided that the whistlestop would be constructed a distance of 22kms form the twenty odd year town on Ventersburg. It didn’t take long for a community to establish itself around the whistlestop. Soon enough the need for stores catering to the railway personnel and associated activities arose. The farmers we inspired by the efficiency of the rail transportation system. The discovery of lime deposits close to the station brought the Portland Whites Cement Company to Ventersburg Rd. By 1914 the company was producing cement. On the 25th May 1927 the town was named Hennenman after Petrus Ferdinand Hennenman.
Proclaimed a municipality in 1912. Gold was discovered on the 16th April 1946 on the farm Geduld. “OD” as it is popularly known has the wideness of the boulevards with the many palm trees planted along the islands in the middle. All roads of OD are tarred.
It is well known for producing soccer stars such as Kamohelo Mokotjo, Khotso Moleko, Vuyisile Wana and also it is a birth Place of a Pentecostal and Charismatic Preachers Such as Rev Jack Mponeng who is impacting communities of South Africa with His Charismatic Preaching and Bible Centered Faith Teachings etc.
Situated on the R30 between Odendaal and Bothaville. The distance from Welkom to OD is 12 km, from OD to Allanridge is 14km. The town was named Allanridge after the geologist Allan Roberts. It was established in 1950 receiving municipal status in 1956.
The SAPS museum found on the south side of town marks the historical site of one of the first prisons in South Africa and the first of its kind to be restored to its original state. This was built around 1895. Mmamahabane has the most churches per square kilometre than any other township in South Africa.