Environmental Profile

Demographic profile

During 2001, the population of the Phumelela municipal area was estimated at 50909, approximately 1.9 % of the total population of the Free State province. Its contribution to the provincial GDP in 2004 was estimated at approximately 0.66 %. There is a notably high percentage of children in the municipal area, namely 35.1 %. In 2005, the municipal area had one of the highest matric pass rates (88 %) in the province.

Municipal Biodiversity Summary

The municipality covers an area of 755044.8ha of which 83.1 % has remained as natural habitat. There is one RAMSAR site in the municipality, namely Seekoeivlei. It covers 4302.9ha of the geographical area of the local municipality. [The Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognising the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. It is named after the town of Ramsar in Iran.]

There is one biome in the Phumelela Municipality, namely Grassland. Ten vegetation types cover 755044.9ha of the municipality. These are Amersfoort Highveld Clay Grassland, Basotho Montane Shrubland, Eastern Free State Clay Grassland, Eastern Free State Sandy Grassland, Eastern Temperate Freshwater Wetlands, Frankfort Highveld Grassland, Low Escarpment Moist Grassland, Northern Afrotemperate Forest, Northern Free State Shrubland and Soweto Highveld Grassland.There are also four vulnerable ecosystems, covering 50659.9ha, of the Phumelela Municipality. This is the Eastern Free State Clay Grassland, Eastern Temperate Freshwater Wetlands, Low Escarpment Mistbelt Forest and Soweto Highveld Grassland.

The Freshwater Ecosystems in the municipality are characterized by two water management areas, namely Thukela and Upper Vaal. Twelve rivers run through the municipality, namely Cornelis, Elands, Grootspruit, Holspruit, Klip, Kommandospruit, Meul, Rondawelspruit, Spruitsonderdrif, Vaalbankspruit, Venterspruit and Wilge. Wetlands cover 14196.7ha of the municipality.