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Makgoe attributes Free State matric success to early preparation

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Staff Reporter

Education MEC Tate Makgoe says the Free State matric class of 2020 has emerged the best in the country because they completed most of the work for the final year while in Grade 11.

Makgoe told The Free Stater during a media briefing at a special event to announce the provincial results for the National Senior Certificate that he felt it important to adequately prepare the learners while in Grade 11 in order to minimise the pressure of work in the final year.

“We had a crusade in 2019,” said Makgoe.

“We made sure that we supported the class of 2020 in 2019 when they were in Grade 11.

“We had a particular focus on Motheo district but we did the same in other districts.

“I personally went to different schools in the province.”

In the latest matric results announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga yesterday, Motheo district is among the top 10 out of the country’s 75 districts.

“When I heard that . . . something said to me, Tate, that strategy from two years back has worked. So, that’s what we will continue doing because we have seen it works,” said an excited Makgoe.

He said learners should not wait until Grade 12 to start working hard because there is only six months for learning in the final year.

The MEC praised the top achievers for working hard despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the schooling programme, saying they proved that hard work and dedication pay off.

The best candidate in the province for 2020 is Neo Brandon Mthombeni from Ngwathe Secondary School in Edenville with seven distinctions.

He plans to study chemical engineering.

The overall top candidate is Marc Daniel Van der Nest from St Andrew’s Combined School in Bloemfontein who got eight distinctions with 100 percent in Accounting and Physical Science.

He wants to study medicine.

The top 125 learners in the province each received a travelling bag, a laptop and some cash.

Those qualifying will also get bursaries for their university studies.

Only 15 of the top learners were allowed at the event due to the COVID-19 protocols.

The others followed the event via a livestream from their respective districts.

At least 40.4 percent of the candidates achieved bachelor passes which allow them to study at universities while 31.3 percent qualify to enrol for diploma studies.

A total of 41 834 part-time and full-time candidates sat for the 2020 NSC examinations in the province.

Makgoe said because of the lockdown, learners missed a lot of contact time at school.

Some had to adapt to the new normal of studying online and through community radio stations and other unconventional methods.

He said any township and rural schools could not deploy the online teaching model because they did not have adequate resources.

Premier Sisi Ntombela reassured the learners that the provincial bursary scheme would continue supporting them.

“I want to assure you that we will continue assisting the needy children of the province. We have agreed (as the executive council) that we cannot drop our children,” said Ntombela.

She however warned the learners to avoid double dipping by benefitting from the bursary fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme as this deprives others from getting financial support.

The province is currently funding 1 002 students at local universities and 535 studying outside the country.

The premier however said no new students will be put on the international programme as the provincial government is trying to cut costs.

She also led the gathering in observing a moment of silence in honour of the 66 teachers and four learners who have succumbed to COVID-19 in the province.

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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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