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ANCYL Free State unhappy with youth representation in municipal elections

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Staff Reporter

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Free State has hit out at the mother body for not heeding their call to have young men and women contesting for at least 25 percent of council seats in the province in the forthcoming local government elections.

ANCYL Provincial Congress Preparatory Committee (PCPC) convenor Katleho Mangoejane told a media briefing in Bloemfontein on Wednesday that the youth only achieved a 16 percent threshold and failed to get any young people below the age of 35 onto the candidate lists in two municipalities.

He claimed some of the candidate lists could have been doctored as some names were either moved to the bottom or removed without any explanation.

“It wasn’t that young people are not available (to contest) . . . the lists were doctored,” said Mangoejane.

“There were lists that were presented. People were nominated in branches, there was a vetting process . . . and a lot of processes that led to the final list.

“So, young people were not allowed to participate in those processes. That’s where the process went wrong.”

Mangoejane said the final list that was submitted by the party to the Independent Electoral Commission was not the same as the one they had seen before.

“Young people were moved down on the list. You would find . . . a young person on number 12 on the list at the final meeting . . . was suddenly moved to number 20,” he claimed.

“So, it means there is a deliberate attack on young people by the ANC and it’s our role as the ANC Youth League to fight for the space of the youth. We still believe in the ANC . . .”

A list shared by the PCPC indicates that Kopanong and Letsemeng local municipalities do not have any youth representations among their candidates for the highly anticipated elections set for November 1.

Tswelopele Local Municipality has the highest youth representation in relation to its size — at least 56 percent of its candidates are youths, but in terms of actual numbers, it’s only five young people.

Other municipalities that reached the threshold include Ngwathe, Mafube, Masilonyana, Tokologo and Mantsopa.

Mangaung only achieved 19 percent youth representation on its candidate list.

“The . . . data paints a very worrisome picture given the ANC’s sluggish and declining performance in most of the councils (in the Free State) in previous elections,” Mangoejane pointed out.

“The ANC stands no reasonable chance of success to renew and reposition itself if the selection of candidates is influenced by personal, business and other vested interests, rather than the qualities needed.”

The PCPC convenor said the youth demand to see a greater presence of the youth in municipal chambers to inject new ideas and greater commitment towards the promises made in our manifesto.

However, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, in a separate media briefing in Johannesburg, said the party departed from the norm in the selection of candidates to ensure only the best people chosen by their own communities made it to the list.

“. . . the party embarked on a form of primary elections as an internal democratic mechanism, with its candidates not only selected by its own members, but also by the broader community before they were finalised,” she said.

“As a new process, this was quite tumultuous, but we are confident that this new ANC process of selecting local government candidates is the best process to ensure community participation and input.

“It ensures that those who emerge as ANC candidates are rooted in their own communities and enjoy their confidence.”

Duarte said the party also tried to ensure that a quarter of the candidates across the country were youths.

“When we look at the median age of our candidates, we find 25 percent . . . are young people. This demonstrates our confidence in the future and the capacity of young people,” she said.

According to Duarte, the party has resolved that all disputes regarding the candidate lists will be addressed after the elections.

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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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Mangaung speaker vows not to be silenced by charges

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DEFIANT . . . Mangaung council speaker Stefani Lockman-Naidoo

Mangaung council speaker Stefani Lockman-Naidoo has vowed not to stop fighting corruption in the metro after she was summoned to a disciplinary hearing set for next month for disobeying her party, the ANC, resulting in the axing and suspension of senior officials in the municipality.

The ANC Mangaung Interim Regional Committee (IRC) has summoned her to a disciplinary hearing on June 7 to answer to charges of knowingly and intentionally defying a resolution of the ANC Caucus in council after she allowed a motion to be debated without referring it to party structures in the council.

Lockman-Naidoo’s tiff with her party dates back to January when the Mangaung IRC announced her suspension after she was accused of defying the ANC’s instruction no to proceed with a sitting which resulted in then acting city manager Sello More being removed from office.

The Mangaung speaker also told The Free Stater on Thursday that she was being targeted for presiding over a recent council sitting that resolved to suspend several allegedly corrupt officials in the municipality.

“We are being charged for suspending a corrupt HOD (head of department),” said Lockman-Naidoo, referring to David Nkaiseng who heads corporate services.

A council meeting held on May 12 – after receiving an investigation report from Matlho Attorneys – resolved, among others, to bring charges against Nkaiseng for his alleged role in unlawfully appointing the officials resulting in the flouting of municipal policy of appointment of officials as well as flouting municipal staff regulations and the code of conduct for municipal officials.

“We are being targeted because we are purging these corrupt officials of Mangaung,” charged Lockman-Naidoo.

“I will not tolerate any corruption . . . Wherever I go I will be known as that speaker that didn’t tolerate corruption,” she added confidently.

The speaker was however quick to point out that those charging her had no authority to do so.

“But you see, the charges are not from the ANC because they didn’t ask for permission from the provincial coordinator (Paseka Nompondo) to charge us,” she said.

“The region itself is an illegitimate structure. Its term has expired and these are just factions . . .

“It’s a faction of the region that is charging us – it’s not the ANC.

“They are the ones that are purging us because we are not part of their faction.

“This is what’s going on. They don’t tolerate me.”

Lockman-Naidoo claimed the faction was not happy with the suspension of the HOD.

“The council resolution . . . says several criminal charges must be opened against the HOD himself and relevant officials,” she said.

“And I’m wrong for suspending a person like that?

“I don’t mind being charged at all because we did the right thing as council.

“They are saying . . . they are charging us because I allowed the item to sit in council.

“It’s not my item – it’s a council item. I couldn’t remove it. There was nothing I could do.”

Council also resolved that Nzimeni Maswabi be charged by acting city manager for his role in approving unlawful staff appointments.

It also wants Thabang Joseph Mpeli to be charged for his role in the drafting of unlawful appointment letters.

However, ANC Mangaung IRC spokesperson Ncamisa Ngxangisa has dismissed Lockman-Naidoo’s claims saying the party was not targeting anyone but it simply wanted to put its house in order.

In a separate interview, Ngxangisa said there were concerns some councillors could be working with the opposition, hence the probe.

“We are not targeting individuals. We are dealing with members of the ANC who happen to be councillors in this regard,” he told The Free Stater.

“This is after we received concerns that there could be some members who are voting with the opposition, against the position of the caucus of the ANC in that municipality.

“We took everything as it is, and referred the matter to our sub-committee that deals with issues of discipline so that they inquire into all these allegations levelled against all these comrades.

“But at the same time, it gives these comrades an opportunity to respond or query any evidence that may be presented against them.”

Ngxangisa said every organisation implements disciplinary processes when something goes wrong and the ANC was only exercising its right to do so.

“We are a political party, we contest elections,” he said.

“We are relying on our councillors to make sure that our policy position and decisions find expression in that council.

“If there are allegations that such is not happening, any self-loving political party will stand up and do something about it.

“These accusations are neither here nor there – no one is targeted.

“There are concerns that the centre is not holding in that municipality.

“Our caucus through the chief whip is not given enough support by our councillors and there are such allegations.

“That’s a cause for serious concern which must be attended to so that the ANC can at least enjoy its majority in that municipality.”

The Mangaung IRC spokesperson emphasised that the ANC was firmly against any corrupt activities but indicated that councillors were expected to represent the interests of the party and not their own.

“When we say all councillors must toe this line, we expect everyone to toe that line. Anyone who goes astray is a concern to us,” he said.  – Staff Reporter

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Centlec warns cable theft masterminds

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STOLEN . . . Part of the copper cable recovered by the police

Power distribution company Centlec has issued a stern warning to people believed to be hired by unknown individuals or syndicates to steal copper cables from the power lines saying it will not allow them to destroy such key infrastructure and put the country’s economy at risk.

“This is war and we will fight it tooth and nail,” said Centlec in a statement.

“We want to send a strong message to the criminals and their handlers that we will not rest until they are behind bars,” added the company, which distributes electricity to Mangaung and surrounding municipalities.

It said it is aware that most of the criminals are just fronts who are sent by kingpins who then process the copper before selling it.

Centlec warned the kingpins that they would soon face the full might of the law.

“Some of the fronts happen to be vulnerable foreign nationals who are being used to steal our cables by their handlers,” said the company.

A joint operation by Centlec and the police in recent weeks has led to several arrests and the recovery of hundreds of kilogrammes of copper cable destined for scrapyards.

In the latest three incidents, a man was arrested in Botshabelo after being found in possession of copper cable believed to have been stolen.

Several people were also arrested following inspections at two scrapyards in Botshabelo where large amounts of copper were found.

At a scrapyard in Bloemfontein, a man was issued with a fine after he was found with copper weighing 150kg which he failed to account for.

Investigations are still underway to ascertain the real owner of the scrapyard for possible arrest.

“We are worried that many of these scrapyards are becoming a haven for criminals and promoting criminality,” said Centlec chief executive officer Malefane Sekoboto. – Staff Reporter

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