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7 500 houses to be built in Caleb Motshabi

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Staff Reporter

At least 7 500 houses have been earmarked for development in the Caleb Motshabi informal settlement as part of efforts to improve the living conditions of people in the area.

In an exclusive interview with The Free Stater Tuesday after distributing 10 Jojo tanks — received from Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) — to different communities, Mangaung Metro executive mayor Olly Mlamleli said the city is working hard to ensure people have access to basic infrastructure, starting with water and sanitation.

“There are 7 500 houses to be built in Caleb Motshabi, one of the biggest informal settlements in Mangaung,” said Mlamleli in a telephone interview.

The development is expected to follow a housing model used in Spain and Venezuela which uses the latest technology to build houses.

“At the moment we are busy laying out the infrastructure before the actual houses are built,” she said.

“They are starting with 500 houses, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to stop.”

The mayor said all households in the area were being given letters confirming their ownership of the housing stands before the actual building of the houses starts.

“We are not going to build houses for them if they don’t own the site they occupy,” she pointed out.

Mlamleli said there also are plans to build 15km of road in the area, most of which some will be surfaced.

People that have settled in areas not fit for human settlement will also be moved to make way for the anticipated developments.

“There are people in Caleb Motshabi who are sitting on a very dangerous Bloemwater pipeline. If that pipe would burst, especially at night, people could be killed,” she said.

“The second group are people that have informally settled on a hard rock. People cannot settle on a hard rock because it’s impossible to put infrastructure in such places. It’s impossible to do excavation for sewer lines, water pipes and so forth.”

The mayor said the land for the relocation of the people has already been purchased and the they will be moved as soon as the Deeds Office finalises the allocation of site numbers.

She would however not mention the earmarked place, saying some ‘clever’ people might illegally occupy the land.

Mlamleli said the water tanks, with a capacity of 5 000 litres each which she received last week, are meant to complement initiatives by the national Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“In the informal settlements, you know that there is no adequate infrastructure. And if there is no adequate infrastructure, then it means there is no adequate water as well as sanitation,” she said.

“To win the battle against COVID-19, people must live under good hygienic conditions and this is only possible when clean water is available.”

Three of the Jojo tanks were taken to Caleb Motshabi while two went to Meripeng, an adjacent informal settlement.

Van Stadensrus, Wepener, Dewetsdorp, Soutpan and the community service centre in Bainsvlei each received one water tank.

CCBSA manufacturing manager Andre Breytenbach who handed over the water tanks valued at about R50 000 said reliable access to clean water is essential for the health of communities.

“. . . our way of doing business has always been rooted in the spirit of advancing public-private partnerships and collaboration for the greater good. We believe in working together with government and the communities in which we operate in for the growth and development of CCBSA and the people of Mangaung,” said Breytenbach.

CCBSA also partnered with the Imbuba Foundation to donate about 5 000 litres of hand soap to the Free State Department of Education worth over R130 000.

This will be distributed to 90 disadvantaged schools in the province.

Washing hands with soap regularly is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the deadly virus.

KEEPING INFECTIONS AWAY . . . A joint initiative by Coca Cola and Imbuba Foundation to donate liquid soap disadvantaged schools in the Free State

 

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Parts of Free State may not have power for up to three weeks

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PROLONGED BLACKOUT LOOMS . . . Eskom says consumers in some parts of the Free State may not have electricity for up to three weeks

Eskom has warned consumers in the south-eastern Free State that they may not have electricity for up to three weeks due to voltage constraints on the network feeding the Melkspruit Substation.

The power failure resulted in electricity users in Zastron, Rouxville and Smithfield as well as those fed directly by Eskom on the RVZ and RVS 22 kV lines experiencing outages over the past weekend.

Eskom’s spokesperson in the Free State, Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, said the problem may persist until major work on a line from the Northern Cape is completed.

“The voltage constraint on the network will persist until construction of structures on the Ruigtevallei-Valleydora 132 kV line in the Northern Cape is completed,” said Van Rensburg as she urged consumers to remain patient while the supply challenge is addressed.

“Free State teams are currently assisting to speed up the process. It is however expected that work will take two to three weeks to complete.”

“In the meantime, electricity users are urged to use electricity sparingly, especially during the morning and evening peak hours, to prevent trips,” she added.

South Africa has been experiencing rolling blackouts in recent weeks due to what Eskom has described a “continued shortage of generation capacity”.

On Sunday, the national power utility said in a separate statement it had about 3 028 megawatts on planned maintenance, while another 14 992 megawatts of capacity were unavailable due to breakdowns.

While the loadshedding is meant to ease pressure on the national grid and avoid a total collapse of the system, the practice has reportedly caused damage on some lines when power is switched back on.

Eskom has always said loadshedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid and promised to limit the implementation of loadshedding to the evening peak in order to limit the impact of the capacity shortages on the public. – Staff Reporter

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Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier

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MOVE GAZETTED . . . Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has disestablished Sedibeng Water

Staff and key assets from the embattled Sedibeng Water Board are set to be transferred to the Bloemwater and Magalies water boards following the gazetting of the move by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu last week.

The department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said in a statement the development is in line with the minister’s commitment to review the country’s water boards to enable them to perform optimally while enhancing the delivery of water to municipalities and ultimately to households.

The decision to disestablish Sedibeng Water – which served Matjhabeng, Masilonyana and Nala local municipalities, among others – means its staff, assets and liabilities will be absorbed by Bloemwater in the Free State and Magalies in Gauteng.

The move, according to Ratau, was initiated by the minister following his working sessions with provincial governments, various water services authorities and water boards regarding issues of governance, financial viability as well as accountability and broader service delivery issues after taking office in August last year.

“The review is based on considerations of financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and is also intended to address institutional confusion caused by having multiple water boards serving the same area,” said Ratau.

“The disestablishment of Sedibeng Water is in accordance with section 28 of the Water Services Act of 1997 which affords Minister Mchunu the authority to disestablish a water board.

“The gazette was published on Friday, 20 May 2022 and will remain open to the public for a period of 40 days.

“Members of the public and all interested parties are invited to make comments in writing on the disestablishment of the board.”

The department said it will ensure there is smooth transition of the disestablishment and that water service provision to communities is not affected.

Based in Bothaville, Sedibeng Water was established to, among others, treat wastewater and supply potable water in a viabile and sustainable manner.

However, in recent years, some of the municipalities served by the water board have struggled over the years to pay on time for the bulk water supplies even though residents have argued that they pay their monthly bills on time.

At the end of March this year, Sedibeng reportedly owed its service providers over R5-billion as it was struggling to secure payment from several municipalities. – Staff Reporter

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Mangaung warns residents to brace for heavy rainfall

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DISRUPTIVE DOWNPOUR LOOMING . . . Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned heavy rainfall is expected to pound the capital

The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned residents in and around the Free State capital to brace for heavy rainfall that could cause flooding this Friday.

The municipality is urging drivers to take extra caution by reducing speed and switching their headlights on, while pedestrians are being reminded to be careful when crossing the road and to avoid crossing rivers and streams where water is above the ankles.

“Residents of Mangaung Metro, particularly in the former Naledi region, are urged to be cautious on the road and in their homes as the South African Weather Service has issued an impact-based warning . . . for possible disruptive rainfall,” the metro said in a statement.

“This warning is valid for Friday, 20 May 2022 until Saturday, 21 May 2022.”

“Heavy rains are also predicted in Bloemfontein on Friday,” it added.

“Localised flooding can be expected in susceptible low-lying areas, roads, formal/informal settlements and bridges.” – Staff Reporter

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