Stadiums around Sedibeng

Outdoor, adventure and water sports

Cultural diversity, outdoor and water sports paradise and an artistic richness – these are the elements that set the Sedibeng Municipal District (SDM) apart in a country renowned for its heritage, multiplicity and wilderness.

Sedibeng encompasses the local municipalities Emfuleni, Midvaal and Lesedi and is the geographic region nearly a million people proudly call home across Vereenigning, Heidelberg, Nigel, Meyerton, Vanderbijlpark, Evaton, Sebokeng, Bophelong, Sharpeville and Ratanda.

The name Sedibeng has its roots in the Sotho word referring to “fountains or wells of water” while Lesedi means light and Emfuleni is Zulu for “a place where there is lots of water”– appropriate descriptions given Sedibeng has nearly 3000km of rivers, dams covering 4570ha and almost the same amount of wetland areas. Many may know the area as the Vaal.

Hours of water sports and recreation

Expansively embracing 3894km2 in southern Gauteng and adjoining the Vaal River and Vaal Dam, the land bears witness to agriculture, industry, mining and residential. It is home to two nature reserves (the 11595ha Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and the small 168ha Alice
Glockner Nature Reserve) while its significant stretches of river and dam - that account for 1% of the total land in Sedibeng Municipal District and form the major water resources for the Gauteng industrial complex - promise hours of water sports and recreation.

“The vast and unspoilt wetlands means Sedibeng District Municipality is blessed with an abundance of waterfowl internationally unrivalled. The Suikerbosrand will enhance every ornithological experience as visitors attempt to spot the more than 200 bird species within its confines,” says the Sedibeng District Municipality Executive Mayor, Cllr. Mahole Simon Mofokeng.

Whether the passion comes from canoeing, river rafting, sailing, boating, fishing (classic, bass or fly fishing), wake-boarding or powerboat racing, there is capacity to harness and express those desires.

Idyllic weekend break-away

Sedibeng is the idyllic weekend break-away from the hustle of city life when the call for the adventure tourism of quad-biking, hot-air ballooning, hunting and 4x4 track exploration or a few sedate days of restaurant cuisine, horse carts and cultural immersion cannot be ignored.

Less than an hour from South Africa’s economic hub, capital or leading international airport, the region traverses the major transport routes - road and passenger railway - between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Kimberley. World-class road infrastructure links Sedibeng to Johannesburg along the R59, the N1 linking Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and the N3 linking Johannesburg to Durban.

“Now is the time to realise your dreams by enjoying the pleasures of Sedibeng to discover an adventure capital, why our natural beauty leaves you awe-struck and why our rich culture and freedom struggles will warm your heart,” says Executive Mayor Mofokeng.

A haven for busy city people

Sedibeng forms an integral part of the largest urban economy in sub-Saharan Africa and comprises 39% of South Africa’s gross value-added. Metals, energy and construction are the principal manufacturing sectors.

Yet, when the industrial elements halt their grinding for the week, domestic and international tourists as well as local residents in one voice attest to the long list of historical and spectacular sites that make Sedibeng an integral experience within South Africa - whether as a mini-break from the routine or as part of an international itinerary. This is the place that will take visitors out of the bustling cities to the peace and tranquillity of the African Highveld.

The Cradle of Human Rights

Sedibeng has always been “at the forefront of political change”. It is the place where the Anglo-Boer War Treaty was negotiated in 1902 and where the first South African democratic constitution was signed. It boasts the lessons and memories of Sharpeville from the 1960 massacre to the Human Rights precinct, as well as supporting world-class accommodation from luxury hotels to the warmth of family guest houses or bed-and-breakfasts.

“Sedibeng is a rich testament to South Africa’s struggle for equality and unity. It is the custodian of many well-preserved buildings and monuments insight to this country’s history and heritage,” says Executive Mayor, Mahole Simon Mofokeng.

The Executive mayor says that the Sharpeville precinct developments will leave behind sports, heritage and leisure facilities that will “transform the community” and form an integral part in the 50th commemoration of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in March 2010.

That event galvanised the world against the apartheid government and six years later, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. South Africa now celebrates that date as Human Rights Day.

“The democratic elections in April 1994 eventually brought peace to Sedibeng and the signing of the constitution at the Sharpeville stadium two years later was “a magnificent symbolic occasion”. The struggle for and celebration of human rights remains a major focus of activities in the region with the month-long Human Rights festival every March including soccer tournaments, street carnivals, jazz concerts and story-telling all dedicated to commemorate the long walk to freedom.”

Beauty, historic magic, arts and craft

Designated tour routes capture the scenic beauty, historic magic and wildlife of Sedibeng’s townships, birds and positioning in South Africa’s embattled walk from Anglo-Boer conflicts to uprisings and democracy.

Executive Mayor Mofokeng says throughout history arts and crafts have translated the ethereal elements of culture and history into visual, concrete experiences. Sedibeng has a rich tapestry of crafters striving to boost the quality of crafts created in the region.

A vision for the future - Vaal 21

“Achieving a prosperous Vaal by 2021 and beyond underpins the range of programmes and interventions the council is driving in terms of finance and resources, infrastructure development, management support services, economic development, tourism, housing, public safety and social services,” says Mofokeng.

The regeneration and renewal of Sedibeng will pump billions of rand into the region, potentially creating thousands of jobs and new small medium and microenterprises. Concrete investments already include the R3 billion Heineken brewery, the Evaton renewal programme that will be added to the existing steel manufacturing undertaken by Arcelor-Mittal and the petrochemical industry linked to energy and chemicals group Sasol.

“The Vaal River, so long the playground of the wealthy few, will become connected to our cities and our communities, but more significantly, it will become the anchor for economic regeneration and regional development”

Preparedness for 2010

As South Africa counts down the days until the dream for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament becomes a reality, tourism remains among the key focus areas for economic development.

Mofokeng says as a vital string in South Africa’s tourism bow, Sedibeng economic development and tourism has worked hand-in-hand with Match, the official FIFA accommodation supplier, to secure sufficient accommodation; ensure sound signage and road infrastructure to accommodation facilities and promote and develop tourism and leisure.

“We are working energetically to guarantee Sedibeng is the place to be now and in 2010, but its growth and development also makes it the place for investment and business opportunities.

 

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