World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Flag of South Africa
The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag, used since 1928. The new national flag, designed by the State Herald of South Africa Frederick Brownell, was chosen to represent the country's new democracy after the end of apartheid; the flag has horizontal bands of red and blue, of equal width, separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal "Y" shape, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side. The "Y" embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the stripes at the fly end are in the 5:1:3:1:5 ratio. At the time of its adoption, the South African flag was the only national flag in the world to comprise six colours in its primary design and without a seal and brocade; the design and colours are a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history. The colours themselves have no essential meaning.
The central design of the flag, beginning at the flagpost in a "V" form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly. According to official South African government information, the South African flag is "a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history." Although different people may attribute personal symbolism to the individual colours or colour combinations, "no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours." The only symbolism in the flag is the V or Y shape, which can be interpreted as "the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity". From time to time explanations of the meanings or symbolism of the flag's colours are published in various media, including official government publications and speeches by government officials. Three of the colours — black and yellow — are found in the flag of the African National Congress; the other three — red and blue — are used in the modern flag of the Netherlands and the flag of the United Kingdom.
Former South African President F. W. de Klerk, who proclaimed the new flag on 20 April 1994, stated in his autobiography, The Last Trek: a New Beginning, that chilli red was chosen instead of plain red or orange. The Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902 ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902 and resulted in what is now South Africa falling under the British Union Flag; the former Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek became British colonies along with the existing Cape and Natal colonies. Each was entitled to a colonial flag following in the British tradition. On 31 May 1910 these four colonies came together to form the Union of South Africa and the individual colonial flags were no longer used and new South African flags came into being. Once again, as a British dominion the British Union Flag was to continue as the national flag and the standard British ensign pattern was used as a basis for distinctive South African flags; as was the case throughout the British Empire, the Red and Blue Ensigns were the official flags for merchant and government vessels at sea, the British Admiralty authorised them to be defaced in the fly with the shield from the South African coat of arms.
These ensigns were not intended to be used as the Union's national flag, although they were used by some people as such. Although these ensigns were intended for maritime use, they were flown on land; these flags never enjoyed much popular support due to the animosities lingering after the Anglo-Boer War. The Afrikaner descendants of the Dutch settlers from the former Boer Republics found the prominent position of the British Union Flag to be offensive while the English-speakers saw any move to remove it as an Afrikaner plot to deprive them of their imperial symbol. Due to the lack of popularity of these flags, there were intermittent discussions about the desirability of a more distinctive national flag for South Africa after 1910, it was only after a coalition government took office in 1925 that a bill was introduced in Parliament to introduce a national flag for the Union; this provoked an violent controversy that lasted for three years based on whether the British Union Flag should be included in the new flag design or not.
The Natal Province threatened to secede from the Union should it be decided to remove it. A compromise was reached that resulted in the adoption of a separate flag for the Union in late 1927 and the design was first hoisted on 31 May 1928; the design was based on the so-called Van Riebeeck flag or "Prince's Flag", the Dutch flag. A version of this flag had been used as the flag of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape from 1652 until 1795; the South African addition to the design was the inclusion of three smaller flags centred in the white stripe. The miniature flags were the British Union Flag towards the hoist, the flag of the Orange Free State hanging vertically in the middle and the Transvaal Vierkleur towards the fly; the position of each of the miniature flags is such. However, to ensure that the Dutch flag in the canton of the Orange Free State flag is placed nearest to the upper hoist of the main flag, the Free State flag must be reversed; the British Union Flag, nearest to the hoist and is thus in a
State President of South Africa
The State President of the Republic of South Africa was the head of state of South Africa from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be monarch of South Africa; the position of Governor-General of South Africa was accordingly abolished. From 1961 to 1984, the post was ceremonial. After constitutional reforms enacted in 1983 and taking effect in 1984, the State President became an executive post, its holder was both head of state and head of government; the office was abolished in 1994, with the end of Apartheid and the transition to democratic majority rule. Since the head of state and head of government is known as the President of South Africa. Republicanism had long been a plank in the platform of the ruling National Party. However, it was not until 1960, 12 years after it took power, that it was able to hold a referendum on the issue. A narrow majority—52 percent— of the minority white electorate voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and declaring South Africa a republic.
The Republic of South Africa was proclaimed on 31 May 1961. Charles Robberts Swart, the last Governor-General, was sworn in as the first State President; the title'State President' was used for the head of state of the Boer Republics, like them, the holder of the office wore a sash with the Republic's coat of arms. He was elected to a seven-year term by the Parliament of South Africa, was not eligible for re-election; the National Party decided against having an executive presidency, instead adopting a minimalist approach as a conciliatory gesture to English-speaking whites who were opposed to a republic. As such, the State President performed ceremonial duties, was bound by convention to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the cabinet. In practice, the post of State President was a sinecure for retired National Party ministers, as the Governor-General's post had been since 1948. All State Presidents from 1961 to 1984 were white, Afrikaner and over 60. Following constitutional reforms, in 1984, the office of State President became an executive post, as in the United States.
The Prime Minister's post was abolished, its powers were de facto merged with those of the State President. He was elected by an electoral college of 88 members—50 Whites, 25 Coloureds, 13 Indians–from among the members of the Tricameral Parliament; the members of the electoral college were elected by the respective racial groups of the Tricameral Parliament—the white House of Assembly, Coloured House of Representatives and Indian House of Delegates. He held office for the Parliament's duration -- in five years; the last Prime Minister, P. W. Botha, was elected as the first executive State President; the State President was vested with sweeping executive powers—in most respects greater than those of comparative offices like the President of the United States. He had sole jurisdiction over matters of "national" concern, such as foreign policy and race relations, he was chairman of the President's Council, which resolved disputes between the three chambers regarding "general affairs" legislation.
This body consisted of 60 members – 20 members appointed by the House of Assembly, 10 by the House of Representatives, five by the House of Delegates and 25 directly by the State President. Although the reforms were billed as a power-sharing arrangement, the composition of the electoral college and President's Council made it all but impossible for the white chamber to be outvoted on any substantive matter. Thus, the real power remained in white hands—and in practice, in the hands of the National Party, which had a large majority in the white chamber; as Botha was leader of the National Party, the system placed nearly all governing power in his hands. Botha resigned in 1989 and was succeeded by F. W. de Klerk, who oversaw the transition to majority rule in 1994. Under South Africa's first non-racial constitution, adopted in 1994, the head of state is known as the President. However, since the declaration of the republic in 1961, most non-South African sources had referred to the State President as the "President".
The leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, was sworn in as President on 10 May 1994. Parties National Party There is one living former South African State President: Governor-General of the Union of South Africa President of South Africa Prime Minister of South Africa Vice State President of South Africa List of Presidents Lists of Heads of state with links to bios
United Party (South Africa)
The United Party was a political party in South Africa. It was the country's ruling political party between 1934 and 1948; the United Party was formed by a merger of most of Prime Minister Barry Hertzog's National Party with the rival South African Party of Jan Smuts, plus the remnants of the Unionist Party. Its full name was the United South African National Party, but it was called the "United Party"; the party drew support from several different parts of South African society, including English-speakers and Coloureds. Hertzog led the party until 1939. In that year, Hertzog refused to commit South Africa to Britain's war effort against Nazi Germany. Many Afrikaners who had fought in the Second Boer War were still alive, the atrocities committed by the British during that conflict were fresh in their memory. Hertzog felt. Furthermore, he could see little benefit for South Africa in taking part in a war that he saw as an European affair; the majority of the United Party caucus were of a different mind and Hertzog resigned.
Jan Smuts succeeded him and led the party and the country throughout World War II and the immediate post-war years. Smuts and the United Party lost the 1948 election to the National Party, it never held power again. J. G. N. Strauss succeeded Smuts in 1950, was in turn replaced by Sir de Villiers Graaff in 1956 until 1977. Attrition characterised his leadership years, as the party declined because of electoral gerrymandering, changes to South Africa's voting laws, including the removal of the'Coloureds' – South Africans of mixed ancestry, staunch United Party supporters – from the electoral rolls, defections to other parties such as the Progressive Party, formed in 1959 by liberal former UP members that sought a stronger opposition to apartheid. Despite this, the party remained stable until the 1970s. There was much division in the party, between conservatives. Divisions came to a head in 1972 when Harry Schwarz, leader of the liberal "Young Turks" within the party, wrestled the leadership of the party in the Transvaal from Marais Steyn.
His victory was a visible sign of strength from the liberals within the party. On 4 January 1974, he met with Mangosuthu Buthelezi and signed a five-point plan for racial peace in South Africa, which came to be known as the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith, it was the first occasion in apartheid South Africa's history where the principles of peaceful transition and equality had been enshrined in a document, jointly signed by acknowledged black and white political leaders in South Africa. The declaration, however provoked an angry response from the conservative "Old Guard" in the party, including the party's leader. In 1975 Harry Schwarz and three other Members of Parliament were expelled from the United Party. Further resignations followed, which included two Senators, ten members of the Transvaal Provincial Council, 14 out of the 36 Johannesburg City Councillors and four Randburg City Councillors; this made it the official opposition in the Transvaal Provincial Council. They formed the Reform Party.
Schwarz's breakaway led to the demise of the United Party and realigned opposition politics in South Africa. The Reform Party soon merged with the Progressive Party to form the Progressive Reform Party. In 1977, after merging with the Democratic Party, formed by moderate NP dissidents, the United Party was renamed the New Republic Party. A significant number of its parliamentarians refused to remain with the renamed party; some joined the anti-apartheid PRP. Six MPs were expelled from the United Party for refusing to accept the plan to form the NRP and formed the South African Party which joined the ruling National Party three years later. Elections in late 1977 left the New Republic Party gutted, with only 10 parliamentary seats, down from the 41 held by the United Party; the UP's position on race relations in South Africa was a complex one. Smuts himself alluded to the fact that at some unspecified point in the future, black South Africans might be asked to share power with the white minority, provided Black politicians demonstrated their commitment to'civilised' norms of political and personal conduct.
Though, the UP seemed to have little difficulty in tacitly supporting apartheid. One of the reasons the UP fared so disastrously in the 1948 election was its lack of commitment to a clear policy on race relations; this stood in contrast to the National Party, unequivocally behind the notion of preserving white supremacy at all costs. The UP was against apartheid as a system, but favoured the continuation of white minority rule, akin to the political arrangements in Rhodesia at the time. During the late 1960s the party tried to gain support by its resistance to the National Party's politics on giving land to the bantustans, insisting on a single citizenship for all South Africans. By the 1970s, the UP advocated federalism and a gradual retreat from official segregation and discrimination; the party supported links with the Commonwealth of Nations, unsuccessfully campaigned against the establishment of a republic in the whites-only referendum held on 5 October 1960. By the late 1970s, the breakaway and successor groups of the United Party – the Progressive Federal Party, New Republic Party and South African Party – were more or less committed to a multiracial federation as a solution to the racial question.
The ruling National Party's reform program under PW Botha in
Standerton is a large commercial and agricultural town lying on the banks of the Vaal River in Mpumalanga, South Africa, which specialises in cattle, dairy and poultry farming. The town was named after Boer leader Commandant A. H. Stander. During the First Boer War a British garrison in the town was besieged by the Boers for three months. General Jan Smuts won this seat during elections and went on to assist in setting up the League of Nations. Standerton is part of the Lekwa Local Municipality. Standerton was founded in 1878 on a farm called Grootverlangen and named after its owner Commandant Adriaan H. Stander; the South African Republic's Volksraad approved the formation of a town at the drift in 1876 and proclaimed two years later. It was granted municipal status in 1903; the crossing over the Vaal River, now bridged, was known as Stander's Drift and a hill close to the town was called Standerskop were named after Stander. During the First Boer War, a British unit was besieged by the Boer forces who shelled them from the nearby hill, the former holding out until the end of the war in February 1881.
The town has received nationwide media attention in 2007 and 2008 following the destruction of an important voortrekker memorial. This monument, located near the facade of the municipality building, was constructed by Afrikaners to mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Trek; the Lekwa municipality's mayor Queen Radebe-Khumalo ordered the structure demolished in April 2007. "That piece of thing means nothing to us. It's just a piece of cement with tracks. I do not know where it comes from", Radebe-Khumalo declared in a statement quoted by the Beeld newspaper; the incident led to widespread condemnation by the local Afrikaans community. Jan Bosman, a spokesperson for the Afrikanerbond, claimed that "actions like these undo the spirit of reconciliation as promoted by former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu". In June 2007, a joint initiative between AfriForum and Solidarity lodged an application to the Pretoria High Court requesting that the mayor offer compensation for damages claimed.
A subsequent court order ruled that Radebe-Khumalo and her municipality would pay for the damage and prohibited attempts to remove another statue erected in memory of Anglo-Boer war concentration camp victims. In May 2010, the memorial was rebuilt on its original site; the township of Sakhile near Standerton was the site of violent, service delivery riots that led to the Lekwa Municipality mayor Juliet Queen Radebe-Khumalo and other senior municipal officials, being recalled by the African National Congress in October 2009. The riots included the burning of tyres and blocking some entries to the town; the area around the town promotes mixed agriculture with crops such as maize, sunflower seeds, ground nuts and potatoes. Poultry and dairy farming is conducted in the region. Standerton Primary School is a school, opened in the year 1959, with its first acting principal being Miss C. Fisher and a total of 153 learners after its initial opening; the school anthem was composed by one Joan Whitington.
The new hall is called the Barbara Dunbar Hall. There are three houses called Hawks and Falcons; the school motto is "Sapienta Vincit", Latin for "Wisdom Conquers". The key on the school badge represents unlocking knowledge; the official school colours are blue and yellow. The current principal is Mr C. J. van Vuuren. Khula-Sakhile Secondary School is a school, struggling for years with their matriculants' results when for the 2013-14 matric group, the school managed to score a 100% pass rate, seen as a proud moment for both the Sakhile area as well as the Mpumalanga province as a whole. Grootdraai Dam is situated in the upper reaches of the Vaal River less than 10 km upstream of Standerton, it has a catchment area of 8,195 km2, a mean annual precipitation of 750 mm, a mean annual potential evaporation at the dam site of 1,400 mm and a natural inflow of 580 million m3/a. The full supply capacity of the reservoir is 364 million m3; the Grootdraai dam was completed in 1982. Although Standerton is a rural town surviving on agriculture, it has produced talented people prominent in South African society.
Sakina Kamwendo - Award winning Radio & Television Anchor of Update at Noon on SAfm and Co-host of Morning Live on SABC2/SABC News Channel 404. Mark Lawrence - Retired international rugby union referee, he refereed his first international test match, in 2000, was chosen to officiate at both the 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cups. Standerton Information Site Interactive Standerton Website Standerton Website Local Standerton Website Mayor on demolotion of Voortrekker Monument
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans noun for "farmer". In South African contexts, "Boers" refers to the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th and much of the 19th century. From 1652 to 1795 the Dutch East India Company controlled this area, but the United Kingdom incorporated it into the British Empire in 1806. In addition, the term "Boeren" applied to those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State, to a lesser extent Natal, they emigrated from the Cape to escape British rule and to get away from the constant border wars between the British imperial government and the indigenous peoples on the eastern frontier. The term Afrikaner is used in modern-day South Africa for the Afrikaans-speaking white population of South Africa, the descendants of boer settlers and the bulk of White Africans; the Dutch East India Company had been formed in the Dutch Republic in 1602, the Dutch had entered keenly into the competition for the colonial and imperial trade of commerce in Southeast Asia.
The end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648 saw European soldiers and refugees dispersed across Europe. Immigrants from Germany and Switzerland journeyed to Holland in the hope of finding employment at the VOC. During the same year one of their ships was stranded in Table Bay, the shipwrecked crew had to forage for themselves on shore for several months, they were so impressed with the natural resources of the country that on their return to the Republic, they represented to the directors of the company the great advantages to the Dutch Eastern trade to be had from a properly provided and fortified station of call at the Cape. The result was that in 1652, a Dutch expedition led by surgeon Jan van Riebeek constructed a fort and laid out vegetable gardens at Table Bay. Landing at Table Bay, Van Riebeek took control over Cape Town, after ten years and one month of governing the settlement, in 1662, Jan van Riebieeck stepped down as Commander at the Cape; the VOC favoured the idea of freemen at the Cape and many settlers requested to be discharged in order to become free burghers, as a result Jan van Riebeeck approved the notion on favorable conditions and earmarked two areas near the Liesbeek River for farming purposes in 1657.
The two areas which were allocated to the freemen, for agricultural purposes, were named'Groeneveld' and'Dutch Garden'. These areas were separated by the Amstel River. Nine of the best applicants were selected to use the land for agricultural purposes; the freemen or free burghers as they were afterwards termed, thus became subjects, were no longer servants, of the Company. In 1671 the Dutch first purchased land from the native Khoikhoi beyond the limits of the fort built by Van Riebeek; as the result of the investigations of a 1685 commissioner, the government worked to recruit a greater variety of immigrants to develop a stable community. They formed part of the class of "vrijlieden" known as "vrijburgers", former Company employees who remained at the Cape after serving their contracts. A large number of vrijburgers became independent farmers and applied for grants of land, as well as loans of seed and tools, from the Company administration; the authorities of the East India Company had been endeavouring to induce gardeners and small farmers to emigrate from Europe to South Africa, but with little success.
Now and again they were able to send out to their eastern possessions a few families who were attracted by the tales of wealth. But the Cape had little charm in comparison. In October 1670, the Chamber of Amsterdam announced that a few families were willing to leave for the Cape and Mauritius during the following December. Among the new names of burghers at this time are found those of Jacob and Dirk van Niekerk, Johannes van As, Francois Villion, Jacob Brouwer, Jan van Eden, Hermanus Potgieter, Albertus Gildenhuis, Jacobus van den Berg. During 1688–1689, the colony was strengthened by the arrival of nearly two hundred French Huguenots. Political refugees from the religious wars in France, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, they were settled at Stellenbosch, Drakenstein and Paarl; the influence of this small body of immigrants on the character of the Dutch settlers was marked. The Company in 1701 directed; this resulted in the Huguenots assimilating by the middle of the 18th century, with a loss to the community in the use and knowledge of French.
The little settlement spread eastwards, in 1754 the country as far as Algoa Bay was included in the colony. At this time the European colonists numbered eight to ten thousand, they possessed numerous slaves, grew wheat in sufficient quantity to make it a commodity crop for export, were famed for the good quality of their wines. But their chief wealth was in cattle, they enjoyed considerable prosperity. Through the latter half of the 17th and the whole of the 18th century, troubles arose between the colonists and the government; the administration of the Dutch East India Company was despotic. Its policies were not directed to using it to profit the Company; the Company closed the colony against free immigration, kept the whole of the trade in its own hands, combined the administrative and judicial powers in one body, prescribed to the farmers the nature of the crops they were to grow, demanded a large part of their produce as a kind of tax, made other exactions. From time to tim
Free State (province)
The Free State is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, South Africa's judicial capital, its historical origins lie in the Boer republic called Orange Free State and Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province date from 1994 when the Bantustans were abolished and reincorporated into South Africa, it is the only one of the four original provinces of South Africa not to undergo border changes, excluding the reincorporation of Bantustans. The provincial government consists of a premier, an executive council of ten ministers, a legislature; the provincial assembly and premier are elected for five-year terms, or until the next national election. Political parties are awarded assembly seats based on the percentage of votes each party receives in the province during the national elections; the assembly elects a premier, who appoints the members of the executive council. The premier of Free State as of 2009 was Ace Magashule of the African National Congress. In 2018, Sisi Ntombela was appointed premier.
The Free State is situated on a succession of flat grassy plains sprinkled with pastureland, resting on a general elevation of 3,800 feet only broken by the occasional hill or kopje. The rich soil and pleasant climate allow for a thriving agricultural industry. With more than 30,000 farms, which produce over 70% of the country's grain, it is known locally as South Africa's breadbasket; the province is high-lying, with all land being 1,000 metres above sea level. The Drakensberg and Maluti Mountains foothills raise the terrain to over 2,000 m in the east; the Free State lies in the heart of the Karoo Sequence of rocks, containing shales, mudstones and the Drakensberg Basalt forming the youngest capping rocks. Mineral deposits are plentiful, with gold and diamonds being of particular importance found in the north and west of the province; the flats in the south of the reserve provides ideal conditions for large herds of plain game such as black wildebeest and springbok. The ridges and plains typical of the northern section are home to kudu, red hartebeest, southern white rhinoceros and buffalo.
The Southern African wildcat, black wildebeest, eland, white rhinoceros and wild dog can be seen at the Soetdoring Nature Reserve near Bloemfontein. The South African cheetahs has been reintroduced in the Free State for the first time in June 2013 after a hundred years of regional extinction, at Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis. Following the reintroduction of an adult female South African cheetah in early 2016, three wild cheetah cubs has been born for the first time in Laohu Valley Reserve in February 2017, making the three new cubs the first cheetahs born in the wild since their disappearance from the Free State province in over a century; the Free State experiences a continental climate, characterised by warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Areas in the east experience frequent snowfalls on the higher ranges, whilst the west can be hot in summer. All precipitation falls in the summer months as brief afternoon thunderstorms, with aridity increasing towards the west. Areas in the east around Harrismith and Ficksburg are well watered.
The capital, experiences hot, moist summers and cold, dry winters frequented by severe frost. Bloemfontein averages: January maximum: 31 °C, July maximum: 17 °C, annual precipitation: 559 mm Bethlehem averages: 27 °C, July maximum: 16 °C, annual precipitation: 680 mm In the southeast, the Free State borders seven districts of Lesotho: Mokhotlong – farthest to the east Butha-Buthe – northwest of Mokhotlong and northeast of Leribe Leribe – southwest of Butha-Buthe and northeast of Berea Berea – southwest of Leribe and north of Maseru Maseru – south of Berea and northeast of Mafeteng Mafeteng – southwest of Maseru and northwest of Mohale's Hoek Mohale's Hoek – southeast of MafetengDomestically, it borders the following provinces: KwaZulu-Natal – east Eastern Cape – south Northern Cape – west North West – northwest Gauteng – north Mpumalanga – northeastThe Free State borders more districts of Lesotho and more provinces of South Africa than any other province, it is traversed by the northwesterly line of equal longitude.
The Free State Province is divided into one metropolitan municipality and four district municipalities. The district municipalities are in turn divided into 19 local municipalities: See List of cities and towns in the Free State The Free State's major towns include: Bloemfontein & Botshabelo in Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality Welkom and Virginia in Lejweleputswa Bethlehem and Phuthaditjhaba in Thabo Mofutsanyana Kroonstad and Parys in Fezile Dabi The Free State is the only province in South Africa that operates a free 24-hour dedicated rotorwing aeromedical service from a public hospital, they are able to deliver a high level of care on scene. On 31 October 2018 Free State Emergency Medical Service launched an additional 65 road ambulances to augment the fleet. Free state has many private hospitals; some of them are: Bloemfontein Medi-clinic Bethlehem Medi-clinic Welkom Medi-clinic Mofumahadi Mmanapo Regional Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba. The province is the granary of South Africa, with agriculture central to its economy, while mining on the rich goldfields reef is its largest employer.
Agriculture dominates the Free State landscape, with cultivated land covering 32,000 square kilometres, natural veld and grazing a further 87,000 square kilometres of the province. It is South A