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Branch Manager

Mrs Lesego Zengele

About the Branch Manager - Mrs Lesego Zengele

Lesego Zengele holds a Bachelor degree in Public Administration through the University of the North; and further completed a Programme in Business Management through the University of South Africa. She later advanced her business skills by obtaining a Business Management certificate with the University of Potchefstroom.

Driven by passion of career development, she joined Seda Free State in 2007 as a Business Advisor in Thabo Mofutsanyana District.

The successive seven year experiences in the organisation gave her an opportunity to explore leadership role when she was appointed as an acting branch manager from 2012 and later got appointed permanently in 2014.

Background about Thabo Mofutsanyana District

Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality is situated in the north-eastern Free State between the Orange River in the south and the Vaal River in the north. It nestles in the shade of the Maluti Mountains and for the most part borders on Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. The district includes the five local municipalities of Dihlabeng, Maluti-a-Phofung, Nketoana, Phumelela, Setsoto as well as the Thabo Mofutsanyana DMA (Golden Gate Highlands National Park). The municipality is primarily agricultural in nature and most households are found in the rural areas. The main centres in the district are Harrismith, Phuthaditjhaba, Bethlehem, Ficksburg, Senekal, Reitz and Warden. The most densely populated local municipality is Maluti-a-Phofung which contains 55,5% of the districts total population.

Critical infrastructure

The N5 route between Harrismith and Winburg and the R26 from Johannesburg to Bethlehem and Ficksburg are in a poor condition and they carry a large percentage of the traffic through the area. The primary road network (provincial primary, secondary and tertiary) is sufficient but is not well maintained. The condition of roads affects services such as education, health, safety and tourism. Rural areas are particularly affected and farm dwellers suffer as a result of this.

Electricity provision is generally good but there are still imbalances as some previously disadvantaged areas still do not have electricity and rural areas are not well serviced. Power failures are common due to weak networks and limited infrastructure such as substations.

Strengths

The eastern Free State, a scenic area, is well known for several tourist attraction and features a variety of annual festivals. The area therefore has tremendous tourism potential which should be developed.

The biggest tourist attraction is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeyer) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.

Weaknesses

The majority of homes in the urban areas have individual erf water connections, although many are not metered. Bulk water is sufficient in most areas but supply systems are not always adequate.

Water treatment facilities in some areas are very rudimentary and quality is not always of the required standard. Rural areas are poorly serviced in terms of water and many farm workers have to walk long distances to a water source.

About 58% of residents do not have an acceptable sanitation system (above VIP standard). The district has no regional sewage treatment works. Most towns have their own facilities, many of which require upgrading. Some purification systems are a threat to the environment and are thus in need of urgent attention.

Most urban areas experience a drastic housing backlog due to the influx from rural areas. The provision of housing is closely linked to the provision of services and places tremendous financial pressure on local municipalities which is further impacted by non-payment of services by some residents.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality is located in the eastern Free State province, and borders on Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. It is named after Edwin Thabo Mofutsanyana, a stalwart of the communist party. It comprises six local municipalities: Setsoto, Dihlabeng, Nketoana, Maluti-A-Phofung, Phumelela and Mantsopa. The N3 and N5 National Roads pass through the district, and the famous Golden Gate is found in the area on the slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains. Despite all the socio-economic challenges facing this district, the area has huge potential for tourism development because of its scenic beauty and its rich cultural heritage.

Cities/Towns: Arlington, Bethlehem, Clarens, Clocolan, Excelsior, Ficksburg, Fouriesburg, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Harrismith, Hobhouse, Kestell, Ladybrand, Lindley, Marquard, Memel, Paul Roux, Petrus Steyn, Phuthaditjhaba, Reitz, Rosendal, Senekal, Thaba Patchoa, Tweespruit, Vrede, Warden

Main Economic Sectors: Agriculture, tourism