Key Points:

  • CDE’s report is based on research and extensive interviews with civic, business and government leaders in the Free State, particularly Bloemfontein and Welkom.
  • CDE argues that although there are plans at local and provincial levels, there is a lack of synergy between public and private sectors and the absence of a common language or understanding of economic growth.
  • Located midway on the axis between Gauteng and Cape Town, which is traversed daily by national political and business leaders, Free State is ‘halfway to everywhere’.
  • For much of the 20th century – under very different political and economic conditions – the Free State could claim to be the national ‘heartland’.
  • This status had now faded and, as they fly over the province, national elites lack the visual reminders of it, which their predecessors enjoyed as they travelled through it by rail or road.
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