Connect with us

Local

Free State prisons least affected by COVID-19

Published

on

Staff Reporter

Correctional facilities in the central region which includes the Free State and the Northern Cape have been the least affected by COVID-19 due to strict health protocols and low occupancy rates, among others.

“The Free State and the Northern Cape region is the second least affected in the country,” the Correctional Services deputy regional commissioner for the Free State and Northern Cape, Takalani Mahlamba, told journalists during a networking session at Grootvlei Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

“The region with the least affected officials and offenders is Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West.”

He added: “The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in the Free State and the Northern Cape is 785 . . . with 757 recoveries.

“We had 15 deaths and we have 13 active cases as we speak. This region has done very well compared to others in the country. It’s unfortunate that we have lost 15 souls.”

The correctional services department also showcased some of its projects which are run by inmates.

It has three farms in the central region situated at the Goedemoed Correctional Facility near Aliwal North as well as Groenpunt close to Sasolburg and Grootvlei.

The Grootvlei farm is the most diverse operation and it also produces for other correctional facilities in the central region.

It specialises in dairy farming, piggery, chickens, vegetable production and agronomy which includes the growing of fodder for the livestock.

Grootvlei agriculture manager Bellina Dube said most of the food consumed by inmates is produced at the farms.

“We produce our own food at these farms. The food is distributed to all correctional centres and any excess may be sold to staff or given to charity,” said Dube.

The Grootvlei dairy has 35 cows which produce about 770 litres of milk per day. Each cow produces at least 22 litres per day.

The piggery slaughters at least twice a month and at least 10 000 eggs are produced every month.

PORK SUPPLY . . . The Grootvlei piggery slaughters at least twice a month

VERY PRODUCTIVE . . . At least 10 000 eggs are produced every month at the Grootvlei farm

Local

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Local

Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Local

Mangaung warns residents to brace for heavy rainfall

Published

on

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2022. The Free Stater. All Rights Reserved