NGWATHE LOCAL MUNICIPALITY
Situated in the northern part of the Fezile Dabi District Municipality. The Vaal River forms part of the northern boundary of the area, which also serves as the boundary between the Free State, 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 the Weltevrede, Rooipoort and Koppies Dams. The rivers, together with the respective dams, prominent water sources for agricultural purposes in the region. Other prominent topographical features include the Vredefort Dome in Parys. The form of the Dome consists of a central cone of granite surrounded by concentric ridges of quartzite belonging to the Witwatersrand System.
The Parys District has unique natural 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 Artfield that supports commercial and tourism development in the area. It has a strong commercial component and provides a wide range of services to the district.
Vredefort District, the former Heilbron District is predominantly an agricultural area, although major manufacturing industries contributes largely to the Gross Geographic Products of the district.
Koppies is located in an area of agricultural significance and mainly provides services in this regard to the surroundings rural areas. The three well – established and developed irrigation schemes subsequently enhance the agricultural of the area. The strategic location of Koppies between the larger centres of Kroonstad and Sasolburg 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 battlefields. These are envisaged to be further developed along with the Koppies Dam Nature Reserve.
Edenville is also located in an area agricultural significance. The main road linking Kroonstad and Heilbron runs adjacent to the area.
Fezile Dabi District has produced many political figures who are running the Free State Province, Hon Premier Sekgobelo Elias “Ace” Magashule, MEC Tate Makgoe, Cllr Mayor Thabo Manyoni, most important our hero Mr Fezile “Bhuti Feze”Dabi, whom his grave in Tumahole is nominated for declaration as a Grade II site. It should be noted that South African struggle for liberation began with regional wars of resistance against colonial domination, followed by a coordinated national struggle for freedom underpinned by the formation of national movements. The graves of the iconic leaders of the liberation struggle movements are tangible representation of the intangible heritage aspects of organized resistance and defiance against repressive laws. Furthermore, such graves are tangible representations of the selfless sacrifices and contribution made by the different generations of South Africans. It draws from broad cultural, religious, political philosophies, educational and socio-economic backgrounds, drawn together into a formidable political force that brought the plight of the oppressed South African masses into the attention of the world.
The town was proclaimed in 1912 and still serves the farming community in the district. Plain game hunting opportunities are available in the area including Pudumo Game Reserve and the lion farm.
This area was originally inhabited by the Le Goya people, while in more modern times it was the area in which Chief Mzilikazi fought off invading Voortrekkers at Vegkop in 1836. Despite its history, Heilbron is a peaceful town which services the cattle, diary, wheat, sunflower and maize industries.
In 1904, Gen CR de Wet established as settlement for underprivileged whites on the banks of the Renoster River. Its appropriate name means “hillocks” and is a historical, picturesque town. The famous Lace School, now disused, is a testament to Home Industry promotion put forward in Koppies by Emily Hobhouse.
The name of the town is the Afrikaans translation of ‘Paris’. This name is said to have been given to the town by a German land surveyor who had participated in the Siego of Paris during the Franco-Prussion War because its location on the Vaal River reminded him of Paris on the River Seine. Three islands on the Vaal River named Gold Island, Woody Island and Groot Island lend a special charm to the town.
Its name meaning ‘Fort of Peace’. Vredefort is a small mixed-farming town founded in 1876 on the third largest meteorite site in the world (with a diameter of 200km), a geological phenomenon which led to the formation of the gold-bearing reefs of the Free State. It owes its name to the peaceful conclusion of a threatened war between the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The district produces cattle, groundnuts, sorghum, sunflowers and maize.