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Vote out the corrupt, incompetent and thieves: Ramaphosa

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Staff Reporter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to demonstrate their disdain for corruption by voting out those who have failed to serve them in the forthcoming local government elections set for later this year.

“If those who claim to serve you are not doing so, vote them out,” said Ramaphosa when he addressed the national Freedom Day celebrations held in Botshabelo, just outside Bloemfontein today.

The local government elections are set to take place on October 27.

“Exercising our right to vote is by far the most powerful form of protest,” he told the gathering after officially opening the Charlotte Maxeke Treatment Centre in the township located about 45km east of Bloemfontein.

Ramaphosa told the people that their vote is the most potent weapon through which they can improve their lives and transform the communities they live in.

“I call on you to demonstrate, with your vote, your intolerance for corruption, theft and mismanagement of the funds that are meant for the benefit of you, the citizen,” he said.

“These elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and to be part of the change you want to see.

“Whether you are in a village, a town, a city, a metro or a farm, I call on you to exercise your right in the upcoming local government elections.

“I call on you to decide who among the many candidates has the ability and the determination to work tirelessly on your behalf.”

The president urged people “to determine the future of your family and your community by putting your confidence in those parties that have the best policies and the will and the means to implement them”.

Ramaphosa lamented the stubborn legacy of apartheid which he said continues to limit people’s opportunities, 27 years after democracy.

He said despite the country making progress towards realising a better life for the people and advancing human dignity, the promise of 1994 has not yet been fulfilled.

“Millions of South Africans still live in conditions of poverty and deprivation . . . for those who continue to suffer from lack of basic services like running water; for those living in fear every day from violence and crime; and for those who have no jobs to support themselves and their families, true freedom remains elusive . . . the legacy of apartheid remains a defining feature of our land.”

The president said even after nearly three decades, the remnants of apartheid continue in many ways to determine where people live, what assets they own, what schooling they receive, what jobs they can do and how safe they feel.

He urged people to take a firm stand against the social ills that prevent the men, women and children of South Africa from living lives of freedom.

“We must take a firm stand against violence against women and children,” said Ramaphosa.

“We must speak out and report any instances of gender-based violence, even if the perpetrators are close to us.

“As a country we must say no to homophobia and all forms of intolerance against members of the LGBTQI+ community.”

He pointed out that hate crime will not be tolerated in the country and that those behind these crimes will be found and brought to book.

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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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