About the Branch Manager - Mr Riaan Oelofse
Riaan Oelofse studied in Police Management as an undergraduate, but completed a Master of Business Administration degree at the NWU in 2002. He also has a Diploma in Commercial Art and has completed numerous short-term business - and management related short courses. In 2015 he was awarded a PhD in Business Administration by the NWU. His research subject for his thesis was entitled “An evaluation of South African worker co-operatives against specified business success factors”. Since finalizing his research he has had two articles in academic journals published on the subject.
Riaan was involved in the small business sector as a part-time, and later full-time, business owner from 1994 to 2009. He joined Seda in August 2009 as a Business Advisor. At the 2011 Seda CEO Awards he received the award for the best performing Business Advisor in the country. He was appointed as the Branch Manager in Fezile Dabi in September 2011.
Background about Fezile Dabi
The Vaal River and the Vaal Dam form the northern boundary of Fezile Dabi District Municipality and also serve as the boundary between Free State and Gauteng. Although Fezile Dabi contains 17% of Free State's population, it is the second smallest district municipality, including the local municipalities of Mafube, Metsimaholo, Moqhaka and Ngwathe. It has the second highest contribution (32.2%) to the Free State's GDP.
Metsimaholo is the only local municipality in which the private sector dominates the economy. The main economic contribution is from the manufaturing sector, dominated by Sasol. Moqhaka has the second highest GDP contribution in the district; the community service sector is the main contributor, as it is also in Ngwathe and Mafube.
Apart from the high-tech industrialised Sasolburg area in the north, the remainder of the area has a strong agricultural base. Cattle and sheep farming provide opportunities for the processing of meat, wool and dairy products. Maize, sunflower seed, sorghum and wheat are cultivated.
Extensive areas have rich underground coal deposits. Large quantities are mined in the Sasolburg district by means of conventional and strip mining methods. Sasolburg, known as the chemical hub of South Africa, has a range of industries related to the oil-from-coal process, including the Chem City project. The rare clay, Bentonite, is mined in the vicinity of Koppies. The re-exploitation of the Lacemyn diamond mine in the vicinity of Kroonstad is currently taking place and gold is mined at the Vaal Reefs Mine, part of the Witwatersrand gold reef, in the Viljoenskroon area.
Heilbron has a strong industrial character. The national headquarters of several industries are situated here. Industrial development in Frankfort is agriculture-related and the largest butter production facility in the southern hemisphere is established here.
The Vaal Dam is often referred to as the 'Highveld's Inland Sea'. This vast expanse of water covers some 300 sq km and is Gauteng's principal source of potable water. The Vaal River Barrage, just below the Vaal Dam, serves as an effective backup reservoir with recreational opportunities.
The northern Free State has experienced dramatic growth in the tourism industry, of specific importance is game ranches and guesthouses on farms. The area has tremendous tourism potential that should be developed.