Geography & Infrastructure
Harrismith is situated in the north east of the Free State province. This province is roughly in the centre of South Africa, and borders the independent kingdom of Lesotho. Major roads linking the major metropolitan areas of Johannesburg, Durban and Bloemfontein pass by the town. Harrismith is no more than 350km away from these major centres.
Intabazwe, the Zulu name for Harrismith, is translated as the mountain, who's summit looks like the plains. This is a good description of the mountain at whose base Harrismith is established, and which is also known of as the Platberg (flat mountain). The sandstone on the mountain is topped with a dolerite cap.
Town approx 1600m. Highest point of Platberg mountain 2395m
* Harrismith town, traditionally the white area of town, but now home to many black families.
* Intabazwe Township, the oldest township, 5km from Harrismith town.
* Tshiame, approx 13km from Harrismith town, a newer township, initially created as part the Qwaqwa apartheid homeland.
The town has three industrial areas:
* Harrismith town
* Hardustria - on the border of Harrismith Town
* Industriqwa - 10 km from Harrismith, bordering Tshiame
Mild climate, reminding earlier settlers of "home". Winters are cold, and snow is not unheard of. (Many houses have fireplaces to compensate for the cold.)
Average maximin and minimum temperatures degrees Celsius
Summer rainfall of between 850 - 1 000mm pa
Sesotho, Zulu, Afrikaans and English.
Most people are bilingual, and many are quadlingual.
Harrismith Town Council:
ANC, Nationalist and independent councillors. The Town Council has shown itself as one of the best in the Free State in meeting the new financial management demands of the New South Africa.
Historically Harrismith townships are lacking in infrastructure, even in South African terms. This was a deliberate move, in an attempt to encourage residents to move to the nearby apartheid homeland of Qwaqwa. However RDP houses are being built, and infrastructure is being upgraded to ensure that all residents have water borne sewerage by the turn of the century.
Sterkfontein Dam close by, supplies ample water to the town.
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