The town of Sasolburg in the northern Free State was established in 1954 by Sasol Ltd, and was built to house the personnel that worked at the world’s first oil-from-coal plant – Sasol. The location was selected primarily for its location near large coal deposits and received official town status in 1967. The town forms part of the Vaal Triangle and is flanked by the southern banks of the Vaal River. Johannesburg International airport lies approximately 150km away and Johannesburg central lies 80km to the north of the town.
Predominantly an industrial town, Sasolburg has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception and offers superb facilities to local residents. The town features a number of sporting events year round, including the winter swimming championships hosted at the Penny Haynes Olympic swimming pool. Likewise, the local Ettienne Rousseau Theatre attracts a wide range of national and international performing artists. The area is liberally dotted with trees - mainly oak trees - that have been purposely planted in the last couple of decades. It is rumoured that there are more trees in the area than residents and the leafy suburbs present an inviting atmosphere.
The area is broken up into several extensions, with some of the more popular suburbs being Roodia and Vaalpark. Property prices vary from suburb to suburb and recent statistics released by Lightstone reveal that some areas seem to be more affordable than others. There have been a total of 50 property transfers in Vaalpark over the last 12 months, with the average price for freehold property in this specific extension coming in at R773 000 and R487 000 for a sectional title property. An internet search also reveals that there are vast amounts of vacant land still available for development in Sasolburg. Property sales in Roodia saw a total of 25 transactions taking place during the last 12 months, with price averages at the R701 000 mark for freehold property and R618 000 for sectional title purchases.
The area boasts 18 schools - both junior schools and high schools, as well as a number of private educational institutions. The central business district hosts several larger shopping centres, such as the Riverside Boulevard Shopping Centre and the Vaal Shopping Centre.
The nearby Vaal Dam and River has always been regarded as a major form of entertainment for the town’s residents. Boat cruises on the dam as well as river cruises that operate on a daily basis remain a favourite pastime for some who live in the area. Fly fishermen are a predominant sight and water sports enthusiasts are well catered for, as the town boasts some of the best water sports facilities in the surrounding region.
The area has played a significant role in the success of the country’s more recent history. Author, Petra Wessels, who wrote the book Cresendo to Success, examines the history of Sasolburg as well as the history of the Sasol plant itself calls these “a masterpiece, a symphony created and executed by the skill, industry and dedication of ordinary people”.