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Hero cop rewarded for rescuing granny

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Staff Reporter

A QwaQwa police officer who bravely rescued a suicidal old woman from drowning in a flooded river and survived a potential snake attack has been showered with praises and given R5 000 cash as a token of appreciation by the provincial police management.

What started as a normal work day for Constable Moleko Mabe from Phuthaditjhaba Police Station on Monday suddenly became dramatic when he and his colleague, Warrant Officer Mandla Mothap, heard on the police two-way radio that an elderly woman had been seen in a nearby flooded river by community members.

The pair immediately drove to Kgoptjane River which is situated behind Phuthaditjhaba Police Station to try and rescue the woman.

Upon their arrival at the river, they found a crowd of people helplessly watching Emma Tlaleng Mahloko, 67, struggling and screaming for help.

“I heard the granny screaming in the bushy area already in the river asking for help,” said Mabe who is attached to the visible policing unit.

“I couldn’t even see her, but used my amateur swimming skills and made my way through the thorny branches and into the muddy river,” he said.

Mabe eventually saw the old woman holding onto a tree branch and dived into the flooded river and waded against the strong water current until he reached her.

But a bemused Mahloko, who is from Mangaung Village in Phuthaditjhaba, could not understand his logic as he did not have a rope to help her reach the river bank.

“I asked her to take a grip of my belt as I started swimming with her towards the bank of the river. I spent almost five minutes in the river struggling to reach the bank,” Mabe explained.

And as they made their way to safety through the tall grass, Mabe said they came across a snake but simply continued and avoided danger.

Mahloko told the police officer that she wanted to commit suicide because she could not cope with her debts.

She was then taken to the police station where she was reunited with her family.

Free State Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane said on Thursday she was touched by Mabe’s bravery and decided that he deserved to be acknowledged beyond the police’s rewarding programmes.

“Most of the time we get reports about how bad our members are. To hear something like this just made me very emotional, because I know this constable is not a swimmer nor trained to rescue people,” said Motswenyane.

She said there are formal channels to reward members for good service, but she and other managers put together money from their own pockets to give to Mabe as a token of appreciation.

“This is not much, but this is how touched we were with your extraordinary effort to save the life of this old lady. May other members follow your lead,” she said as she handed him an envelope with R5 000 cash.

An emotional Mabe said he did not think twice about rescuing the old woman because that’s what he signed up for when he joined the police.

“I only thought of saving the life of this granny and did not expect anything in return,” he said.

FOR YOUR BRAVERY . . . Free State Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane hands over some money to Constable Moloke Mabe

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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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