Bringing tourism and investment into the Free State and its townships is a high on Premier Sekgobelo ‘Ace’ Magashule’s agenda.
“We have to create township enterprises,” he stressed at the opening of the new stadium. “We must not hide our businesses in the townships and should consider taking sabbaticals from the malls in town centres and support entrepreneurs within the locations.”
The stadium is just one of a number of significant measures being taken to uplift the citizens of the province, he said. “We are planning major things for the Free State, including a new shopping mall in April in the vicinity of the stadium and new sporting stadiums in Welkom and Kroonstad.”
“We welcome that the minister promised to build us a new Olympic-sized swimming pool at this venue — it means that we can develop champions from here.
“Sport markets the Free State. It also gives us free airtime on television through the showing of sporting events, like the soccer. When teams come into the townships, bringing supporters from across the country, they bring in revenue to the Free State through buying petrol, retail purchasing and using local accommodation facilities.
“Visitors interact with our people, developing cohesion and working closely with Mangaung. We have to come together, black and white,” he said.
Commenting on the recent Free State Trade Bridge Summit in Bloemfontein — another initiative to bring investment and visitors into the Free State, the premier said the response from the summit has been outstanding in many ways. In just one example, there has been so much interest in what the Free State can offer that MECs and the premier have been invited to and are leaving within the week to visit Russia, Bulgaria and Belarus.
This summit drew ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives from across the globe, from such places as China, India, Spain, Angola, Lesotho, Germany and more. At this stadium opening, as at the summit, this premier has made himself and his team very accessible to all the citizens in the Free State towards completing major milestones for the province — and creating an environment of collaboration.