Mangaung means “place of the cheetahs”.
By 2030, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality is recognised as a globally safe and attractive municipality to live, work and invest.
Mangaung Metro is located in the Free State Province, in the centre of South Africa. The Free State is bordered by six provinces, namely Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West provinces, as well as the neighbouring country of Lesotho. The municipality was formed at the end of 2000 by amalgamating the Transitional Local Councils of Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and two Rural Councils. The municipality is working towards integrating the city and ensure that previously disadvantaged communities are spatially linked to the rest of the city. Being the sixth largest city in the country, the Mangaung area covers more than 6 263km2 and hosts a population of about 850 000 people. The languages spoken in the area are mainly Sesotho, Afrikaans, English and Setswana. Mangaung, accentuates the vibrant, dynamic and energetic character of the tourism industry in the “City on the move”.
The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality comprises of three prominent urban centres, namely Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, and Thaba Nchu. These urban centres are surrounded by an extensive rural area. In fact, more than a third of the municipal area consists of farmland, with 39 trust lands. It is the sixth largest city in South Africa. The north-east is mainly characterized by middle to high income residential development. These townships also make provision for amenities like shops, community facilities, public open spaces and forms typical “neighbourhood areas”. These towns are all privately developed on an ad hoc basis.
Development in the south-eastern segment of Bloemfontein is mostly characterized by public/municipal township establishment. Neighbourhoods/residential development are mostly initiated in this segment and are subject to land being purchased for this purpose by the municipality and/or the Free State Provincial Government. These developments are mostly suitable for low cost housing projects, and are characterized by single residential developments with an average size of 350 m² per site.
The results of Census 2001 in comparison with the Community Survey of 2007 indicate a rapid growth of 16.65 % within a period of six years and a household growth of 7.35 % in the same period within the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. The majority of the population (52%) is concentrated in Bloemfontein, 28% of the population is residing in Botshabelo whilst Thaba Nchu houses 12 % of the population. The small-holdings account for 2% and farmlands account for 6% of the population.
Bloemfontein is the economic hub of the Mangaung Local Municipality and the provincial capital of the Free State. The city, fondly known as “The city of roses”, is also the commercial capital of the Free State and the judicial capital of South Africa. Bloemfontein’s economy is mainly based on the services and government sectors. It is also ideally equipped to support demanding industrial activities and is the base of a huge agricultural area. It is incomparable in terms of locality, facilities, viability and accessibility, and displays a proud tradition of hospitality. The city’s rich cultural and historical heritage is reflected in its museums, art galleries and cultural festivals. It offers excellent recreational, shopping and entertainment facilities.
With its picturesque rural tranquillity and vibrant, dynamic central business district, this modern city prides itself on being luxuriously steeped in rich traditions – and yet also on embracing other cultures, new ideas and a rapidly changing technology. Bloemfontein is also a recognised melting pot of creative ideas and expressions. All residents are given exciting opportunities to enrich their lives, while various development programmes ensure the prospect of a higher standard of living for all. The African National Congress (ANC) was established in the township of Batho in 1912. Maphikela House, built in 1926 and commonly known as the birth place of the ANC, is a national monument and can be viewed by visitors. The Nationalist Party was also founded in Bloemfontein in 1914.
Botshabelo, meaning “A place of refuge”, is situated 45km from Bloemfontein on the national N8 road to Lesotho. It is believed to be the largest township settlement in the Free State and the second largest in the country after Soweto. Botshabelo was established in 1978 as an apartheid engineered town for the displaced Basotho people in the Free State. Most of the present inhabitants moved to the town from rural farms. Botshabelo has developed into the industrial hub of Mangaung and houses about 154 fully operational factories. High-quality products from predominantly textile related factories are marketed throughout South Africa and exported worldwide. It is also a dormitory town for workers in Bloemfontein.
Thaba Nchu consists of both an urban area with private land ownership and a rural area of both private and communal land with people living in 31 scattered villages in the area. Thaba Nchu is located 12km east of Botshabelo on the N8 road to Lesotho. This settlement lies at the foot of the well-known Thaba Nchu Mountain, also known in the local Sesotho language as “Black Mountain”. Thaba Nchu has been the home of the Tswana people in the Free State for more than 180 years. The town is closely governed by His Majesty Chief Albert Moroka. He is responsible for most civil matters as well as being the judge at the tribal court. Apart from being a prominent cultural centre, Thaba Nchu offers luxurious accommodation and a variety of entertainment opportunities.