Geography and Population

The Matjhabeng region is centrally located in the Free State and South Africa. One city, namely Welkom and five towns, namely Virginia, Odendaalsrus, Allanridge Ventersburg and Hennenman were amalgamated to form the Matjhabeng Municipality. Matjhabeng is only 230 km from Gauteng and 150 km from Bloemfontein. Durban (580 km) is the nearest harbour. The total area is ± 6 000 km² in extent.

Matjhabeng Municipality came into existence on 05 December 2000 after the amalgamation and emerging of the former six (6) Transitional Local Council into a one (1) financially viable and economically sustainable municipality.

Matjhabeng Municipality incorporates the city of Welkom and the towns of Odendaalsrus, Virginia, Hennenman, Allanridge and Ventersburg with a combined population of more than 500 000 people.

Welkom City, capital of Matjhabeng, is a planned city with all the necessary amenities and infrastructure. Together with Virginia and Odendaalsrus it forms the nucleus of an emerging metropolitan area.

The Matjhabeng Municipality is home to ± 500 000 people that are concentrated in three main nodes, namely Welkom, Virginia and Odendaalsrus. The smaller local towns of Allanridge, Ventersburg and Hennenman surround these nodes and contribute to their importance of serving the wider region.

The economy

The economy of the Matjhabeng Municipality was based on the gold mining industry, and although the gold mining industry has declined since 1991, three of the biggest gold producers in the world are still active in the area and some are even expanding. The mining activities located in and around Allanridge, Odendaalsrus, Welkom and Virginia. Manufacturing aimed at the mining sector exists to a limited extent in the above towns. Other manufacturing activities are limited.

Mining still dominates the local economic scene by contributing 58% of the GDP of the area and 19% of the province. Major strategies are in place to change the economic base away from the mining dependency. The FGF Development Centre, economic development arm of the Matjhabeng Council is devising major strategies to change the economic base away from the mining dependency.

Municipal management

The Municipal Council consists of 72 Councilors with a full time Municipal Management consisting of an Executive Mayor supported by a Mayoral Committee. The Management team is development orientated and has the technical and administrative expertise available through the support of the officials and other professionals in the community.

Community services and facilities

Community facilities are available and function well over the whole spectrum from religious to sporting, health to shopping centres. Both public and private Hospitals with specialist medical practitioners are spread over the municipal area.


The Welkom, Virginia, Odendaalsrus and Hennenman districts all fall in a semi-arid
region with a summer rainfall. The average daily temperature is 22° C in summer and 9° C in winter. Frost occurs normally for about 100 days of winter from middle May to the first week of September.

Summer heat units exceed 2 000 and in winter it exceeds 500. Long sunny days together with high temperatures result in high atmospheric evaporative in the summer. The evaporative demand for the region average 2110 mm per year. The long-term yearly average rainfall is 550 mm of which 400 mm falls in summer. Due to the rainfall pattern, conditions for crop production are most favorable in summer. Most current crops produced in the region are also sensitive to frost.

Local economic development

Local economic development was voted the top priority for the Matjhabeng region during the recent compilation of an Integrated Development Plan by a representative Steering Committee.

The FGF Development Centre was founded to facilitate local economic development and has manfully stuck to an enormous task of creating a conducive economic climate for investment and creation of new jobs.

Matjhabeng Tourism

The Phakisa Freeway (Phakisa means "hurry up" in Sotho!) is an international standard, multi-purpose motorsport facility situated in the heart of the Goldfields region of the Free State. The track boasts a 4,24km road course as well as a 1,5 mile banked oval track similar to the highly acclaimed Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. The track has the capacity to cater for upwards of 60,000 spectators on its grand stands and embankments. There are 20 corporate suites with excellent views of the track.

The Grand Prix road course was designed in conjunction with officials of the FIM and is rated as one of the safest circuits on the GP tour. It is 12m wide throughout and has 14 turns, 5 left and 9 right-hand. Although the straights are relatively short and the top speed is slower than on many tracks, the circuit has no chicanes, which makes for a fast and flowing ride.

Phakisa has since been the venue for numerous local and national racing events. It has been the site of five World Grand Prix’s, in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The track has also drawn international motor vehicle manufacturers who have found Phakisa to be a top-flight testing track. MotoGP, organisers of the World Grand Prix circuit, the riders, their retinues and sponsors have pronounced Phakisa, along with its staff and facilities, to be a superb venue and rate the track as one of the best in the world.

Track Statistics

  • Length : 4,242m
  • Width : 12m
  • Longest straight : 413m
  • Shortest straight : 36m
  • Shortest radius corner : 40m
  • Elevation difference : 6,3m
  • Elevation above sea-level : 1350m
  • Geographical co-ordinates : 27054' south 26043' east

Contact Matjhabeng Municipality For Tourism and Other Services

Telephone: 057 391 3911
Fax: 057 353 2482
Matjhabeng Municipality On The Web: