SETSOTO LOCAL MUNICIPALITY
Setsoto Local Municipality is situated in the eastern Free State province within the regional boundaries of the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality.
The municipality was established in terms of Section 14 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 and was published in Provincial Gazette No. 184 dated 28 September 2000. Setsoto Local Municipality is a Category B municipality.
Cities/Towns: Clocolan, Ficksburg, Marquard, Senekal
Main Economic Sectors: Finance, insurance, real estate and business (21.21%), manufacturing (17.62%), wholesale and retail trade (13.07%), agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (11.83%), government services (11.45%), community, social and personal services (11.31%), transport, storage and communication (6.79%), electricity, gas and water (3.5%), construction (2.17%)
The town of Clocolan is situated along the R26 about 34 kilometres from Ficksburg in the North-east and 37 kilometres from Ladybrand to the South.
Clocolan is perched on grassland at the foot of the Hlohlowane Mountain from which Clocolan derives its name – an incorrect pronunciation of the Sotho word “Hlohlowane”. The Hlohlowane Mountain (1,820 metres above sea level) dominates the town of Clocolan. Owing to the mountain air, the climate is crisp and due to the abundance of water in the area, ideal farming conditions exist. Clocolan lies in one of the main sunflower producing belts of South Africa.
Clocolan is an important farming area specialising in asparagus, wheat, maize, grain, potatoes, wheat and cattle. Visitors to Clocolan can visit the Deemsters Asparagus Factory and learn about the history of this important local crop.
Situated in the scenic panorama of the Eastern Free State, along the Highlands Route, Ficksburg nestles between the foot of the Imperani Mountain and the banks of the Caledon River, the border with Lesotho. Magnificent views of the majestic Maluti Mountains form a backdrop which changes with the seasons, from the purple haze of summer to the snow-clad slopes of winter.
Ficksburg was founded in 1883 and named after General Jan Fick, Commander-General of the old Orange Free State Republic. General Fick’s responsibility was to protect the border between the then Basotholand and the Orange Free State. The government encouraged settlers by offering them land, horses, guns and ammunition in return for settling along the border of the new territory. This discouraged the Basotho from crossing the border, burning farms and stealing cattle.
Today Ficksburg is known as the gateway to Lesotho and the Katse Dam and boasts a large cosmopolitan population. Ficksburg’s economy is based chiefly on mixed agriculture, concentrating mainly on asparagus, cherries and deciduous fruit. Other crops are farmed on a smaller scale. At present there is renewed attention being paid to apples, with more farmers than ever planting apple trees.
The district is renowned for the breathtaking sandstone formations of the mountains here and many of the older buildings in and around the town were built of sandstone. Interestingly, the Union Buildings in Pretoria are built from sandstone quarried in the surrounding area.
Marquard is a small farming town in the Free State province of South Africa that serves Winburg in the northwest. The town was set up in 1905 by an influential Dutch Reform minister, JJ Marquard, with the help of Christoffel Cornelis Froneman, the commandant of the Orange Free State. It was established on the farm Varschfontein and attained municipal status in the same year. Marquard is 169 kilometers east north-east of Bloemfontein and 45 kilometers south-west of Senekal.
Senekal is a town situated on the banks of the Sand River in the eastern part of the Free State province of South Africa. It was named after Commandant FP Senekal. It is the second largest town in Setsoto Municipality after Ficksburg, the largest town and capital of Setsoto. Senekal lies on the N5 national road between Winburg on the west and Bethlehem to the east. It has two townships, Matwabeng and OR Tambo Section, the latter being the latest, largest and fastest growing.
Farming around Senekal plays a vital role in the economy of the province and country at large. Produce includes maize, sunflower, wheat, milk and livestock. One of the oldest churches in the Free State can be found at the centre of the town. The church is fenced with petrified wood, originally excavated from farms nearby. Though cool and charming, it is one of the most underdeveloped towns in the Free State.