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ANC Free State to re-build branches

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DISBANDED PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE . . . The Supreme Court of Appeal declared the ANC Free State conference held in 2018 as unlawful and unconstitutional

The ANC Free State Interim Provincial Working Committee (IPWC) says it will soon be be reconstituting branches that are in disarray across the province as it sets out to strengthen and rebuild the party.

A statement issued by ANC provincial spokesperson Oupa Khoabane on Tuesday says the decision follows consultations with party president Cyril Ramaphosa and chairperson Gwede Mantashe who were recently in the province to assess the progress made on work to renew and unite the structures of the organisation in the Free State.

“On the basis of the reflections made about the level of strength and functionality of . . . branches in the province, the IPWC decided to reconstitute the branches that have shown to be weak and in disarray,” read part of the statement.

The IPWC however did not indicate how many branches were affected or what could have caused the state of disarray.

“This process shall be undertaken immediately in order to enable the branches to position themselves appropriately to lead communities in challenges facing them,” added Khoabane in the statement.

He said the process is meant to empower branches to be in a position to ensure communities receive adequate services and fight social ills.

According to Khoabane, the IPWC was concerned about the ill-discipline displayed by some members while conducting party work.

The IPWC implored the organisation to institute tough measures against them “in order to restore order and political discipline”.

“This (includes) those who conducted themselves in an unbecoming way during the election (period) by surreptitiously working against the ANC, including contesting against the ANC,” he explained.

The provincial spokesperson said the IPWC was concerned about the continued pressure by Mangaung councillors to have a vote of no confidence against mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana, saying the motions did not contribute towards service delivery.

“The people are facing challenges of service delivery and unemployment,” said Khoabane.

“Such motions have no intention of improving services but more to destabilise the functionality of institutions.

“Such motions dampen efforts to turn around the appalling conditions communities are subjected to.

“The ANC appeals to councillors to focus their energies on improving services.”

The ANC in the Free State is yet to announce when it will hold its provincial conference in preparation for the national elective conference set for December.

The ANC Free State provincial executive was dissolved last year after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) nullified the party’s provincial conference held in May 2018 and declared it unlawful and unconstitutional.

The ruling rendered all decisions/resolutions and/or the outcome of the conference unlawful and unconstitutional.

The matter was brought to the SCA by three disgruntled ANC members, Matshepo Ramakatsa, Themba Mvandaba and Shashapa Joshua Motaung.

The trio wanted the appeal court to declare that the ANC provincial conference which took place on 18 and 19 May, 2018 was held in violation of a High Court order dated November 29, 2017.

The High Court had made an order that the provincial conference should not be held until certain Branch General Meetings had been held in a lawful manner that accords with the constitution of the ANC.  – Staff Reporter

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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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