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Serial rapist gets 150 years



Staff Reporter

A 31-year-old Free State man has been sentenced to a total of 150 years after he was convicted on eight counts of rape, seven counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of compelled rape, one count of sexual assault, one count of housebreaking as well as a count of theft.

Free State High Court Judge Sylvia Daniso sentenced Anele Headman Gqorholo, from Zamdela in Sasolburg, to 10 years for each count of rape, 15 years for each count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for sexual assault, five years for compelled rape, three years for housebreaking and two years for theft.

In a statement, National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said the judge however ordered the sentences to run concurrently with the sentences in the rape counts, thus making Gqorholo’s sentence an effective 80 years’ imprisonment.

Gqorholo started his four-year rape spree – which reads like a script from a horror movie – on September 13 2015 when he accosted a 23-year-old woman who was walking with her boyfriend.

According to Shuping, he threatened them with a knife and assaulted the boyfriend before instructing him to have sex with the victim.

“The boyfriend pretended that he is having sex with the victim but ran away. Gqorholo then raped the victim and robbed her of her cellular phone,” he added.

On January 9 2016, the accused broke into the house of a 31-year-old woman who was asleep with her baby and raped her.

He also took her two bank cards.

On May 2 2016, a 21-year-old woman was walking with her friend when they were confronted by Gqorholo.

The friend managed to run away and the accused then raped the victim.

Gqorholo raped the fourth woman on May 18 2016.

The 27-year-old woman was sleeping at night when she saw someone in the house.

She woke up and tried to get out of the house but the accused grabbed her, forced her back into the house and raped her.

On July 23 2016, shortly after midnight, an 18-year-old woman was walking home when she was approached by the accused who overpowered and raped her.

He took her R50 and a cellular phone.

On February 4 2017, a 26-year-old woman had a quarrel with her boyfriend and decided to walk to her parents’ home, but was raped by the accused when he attacked her on the way.

The accused continued with his crime spree when he raped four more women aged between 21 and 31 between June 2018 and May 2019.

None of the victims knew the accused but he was linked to all the crimes through DNA sampling.

The state prosecutor, Advocate Sandile Mthethwa, described Gqorholo as a remorseless serial rapist who went on a four-year crime spree by raping defenceless women.

“The accused planned all his criminal activities because he targeted defenceless women and he could have continued if he was not arrested,” Mthethwa said.

“The court should protect defenceless women by imposing a harsh sentence.”

Judge Daniso concurred with the prosecutor and sentenced Gqorholo to an effective 80 years’ imprisonment.


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



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



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



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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