Profile of the Municipality

The Moqhaka Local Municipality is situated in the southern part of the Fezile Dabi District. The area of jurisdiction includes the former Transitional Local Councils of Kroonstad, Steynsrus and Viljoenskroon, and sections of the erstwhile Transitional Rural Councils of Riemland, Kroonkop and Koepel. Moqhaka abuts the Metsimaholo Local Municipality, within the Fezile Dabi District Municipality, renowned for its national significance as a major contributor to the petro-chemicals industry internationally.

The Moqhaka Local Municipality is the largest municipality within the Fezile Dabi District, with a population of 170 522 according to the Community Survey 2007. This accounts for 35.9% of the Fezile Dabi District Municipality and 6% of the provincial population. Moqhaka had a population increase of 1.5% between 2001 and 2006. The municipality covers an area of 792456.3ha of which 65% has remained as natural habitat. There are no formal land-based protected areas or RAMSAR sites in the municipality. There are two biomes covering 792456.3 ha in the municipality. These are Grassland (96.21%) and Savanna (3.7%). Twelve vegetation types cover the municipality. There is one endangered ecosystem, namely the Vaal-Vet Sandy Grassland. There are also three vulnerable ecosystems, covering 6.4% of the Moqhaka Municipality. These are the Eastern Free State Clay Grassland, Rand Highveld Grassland, and Vredefort Dome Granite Grassland.

The freshwater ecosystems in the municipality are characterised by two water management areas, namely the Middle Vaal and Upper Vaal. Eight rivers run through the municipality, including the Blomspruit, Heuningspruit, Klein-Rietspruit, Renoster, Rietspruit, Vaal and Vals. Wetlands cover 2.6% of the municipality. The primary economic activity within Kroonstad is agriculture. The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs has identified Kroonstad as one of the towns in the Fezile Dabi district to be included in the Department’s priority areas to promote and develop local economic activity. The popularity of the Vals River in water sport activities and angling is important in promoting ecotourism within Moqhaka. Furthermore, the importance of the railroad for transportation of cargo enhances the competitive advantage of Moqhaka, especially when considered with the proximity of Kroonstad to the national road.