Welcome to Xhariep District

Spatial Description

The Xhariep District is “an area of unfound diversity” – as the official slogan of the District Municipality aptly runs.  Lying in the south western Free State, the Xhariep Region, named after the !Gariep Dam, is typically dry and probably the region most likely to fulfil the picture held by many of the Free State as a place of endless space, vast tracts of sheep and cattle farmland, a generous dollop of tranquillity, and a part of the world known to few.

Following the establishment of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and the disestablishment of the Motheo District, the Naledi Local Municipality was incorporated into the Xhariep District. Subsequent to the 2011 local government elections, the District Municipality comprises of 4 local municipalities with 20 towns, namely;

  • Kopanong, including the towns of Trompsburg, Edenburg, Bethulie, Phillipolis, Springfontein, Reddersburg, Jagersfontein and Fauresmith.
  • Letsemeng, including the towns of Koffiefontein, Luckhoff, Jacobsdal, Oppermansgronde and Petrusburg.
  • Mohokare, including the towns of Zastron, Rouxville and Smithfield.
  • Naledi, including the towns of Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Vanstadensrus

It has the largest geographical area of districts in the Free State province. The largest dam in SA, the Gariep Dam, is situated at the southern tip of the District. Moreover, 3 National Roads (N1 – Gauteng to Cape Town, N6 – Eastern Cape to Bloemfontein and N8 – Bloemfontein to Kimberley) pass through the District.

Environmental Profile

Topography

Xhariep topography is generally low lying and undulating slopes with high altitude areas along the mountainous pockets in the southern part of the district. It is mainly covered by Eastern grasslands and dry Karoo savannas. In general, altitudes vary from 2060m above sea level at Bakenkop in the north-eastern quadrant to 1100 m above sea level in the western quadrant of the study area.

Ground Water

Despite the abundance of water resources at the Gariep Dam and the Orange River, various towns in the Xhariep district rely on ground water for their primary water supply. These towns include Petrusburg, Trompsburg, Fauresmith and Jagersfontein. Other towns use ground water as a supplementary and/or emergency source of water supply. These towns include Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, Phillipolis, Springfontein, Edenburg, Reddersburg and Smithfield.

Surface Water

Two main drainage systems occur in the greater district area. The primary drainage system is the Orange River which drains 67 % of the area. The secondary drainage region is the Vaal River represented by the north-west flowing Modder and Riet Rivers which drain the remaining 33 % of the area. The major dams are the Gariep Dam, Bethulie Dam and Smithfield Dam. Other dams include the Vander kloof Dam, Kalkfontein Dam, Wuras Dam, Wolwas Dam and the Matungo Dam. Rivers include the Orange, Riet, Caledon and Tussen-die-Riviere. The Orange River, a 2 000 km long river, forms a natural border between Xhariep and the Cape. The country’s only two hydro-electric power stations are situated on the Orange River, at the Xhariep and Vanderkloof dams.

Local Municipalities

Kopanong Local Municipality

The Kopanong Municipal area is situated in the southern Free State. It has the largest surface area of the three local municipalities in the Xhariep district, covering 15 190 square kilometres (44, 5%).

The nine towns situated in Kopanong are;

  • Trompsburg (Municipal Head Office)
  • Bethulie
  • Edenburg
  • Fauresmith
  • Gariep Dam
  • Jagersfontein
  • Philippolis
  • Springfontein and
  • Reddersburg.
  • Letsemeng Local Municipality

The Letsemeng Local Municipality is situated in the south-western Free State and forms parts of the Xhariep district. It has a surface area of 10 192 square kilometres, which is 29, 8% of the total Xhariep surface area.

The five towns situated in Letsemeng are;

  • Koffiefontein (2.33 km2)
  • Jacobsdal (60.36 km2)
  • Luckhoff (30.52 km2)
  • Oppermansgronde (335.18 km2) and
  • Petrusburg (22.1 km2)

Farmland constitutes 9730.22 km2 of the geographical municipal area.

Mohokare Local Municipality

The Mohokare Local Municipal area is situated in the south-eastern Free State and forms part of the Xhariep district municipality. It measures 8 748, 53 km2.The towns in the Mohokare Municipal area are Zastron, Smithfield and Rouxville. The municipality shares a border with Lesotho, with a distance of approximately 35km towards the border gate at the Makhaleng Bridge. It also shares provincial borders with the Eastern Cape, Ukhahlamba District, through the Maletswayi and Senqu Local Municipalities.

Naledi Local Municipality

The Naledi Municipality is located in the eastern highland of the region and a border gate to Lesotho is just 7 km from Wepener. The local municipal area measures 11 933.24 km2.and comprises the former TLCs of Dewetsdorp, Wepener, Van Stadensrus, as well as a part of the former South East, Central South and Bloemarea District TRCs. The area is traversed by the N8 Maloti Tourism Route and the R26 route. The Naledi Municipality is a largely rural community with almost a third of its land used for farming cattle, sheep and grain. The municipality was incorporated into the Xhariep District following the 2011 local government elections. The major towns that form part of Naledi are Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Vanstadensrus.