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Mangaung Metro promises to pay salaries before end of week

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TROUBLED GLASS PALACE . . . Mangaung Metro Municipality employees staged a protest at the Bram Fischer Building after they failed to get their salaries on time

Mangaung Metro acting city manager Tebogo Motlashuping has assured workers at the embattled municipality that they will have their salaries paid by Friday.

He made the promise after some workers downed tools and staged a protest at the Bram Fischer Building on Tuesday morning when they failed to get their salaries on time.

The workers, who included solid waste collection teams, offloaded some of the collected garbage at the municipality’s head office as they broke into song and dance while they demanded their salaries and burnt some of the rubbish.

The protesting workers told journalists that they were expecting their salaries, overtime, acting allowances and bonuses for April to by paid by Tuesday but, to their surprise, some of them only had between R46 and R100 deposited in their bank accounts and could not understand how the amounts were arrived at.

Motlashuping, who was appointed last week as part of the interim management team at the municipality which is now under national administration, regretted the turn of events and promised to pay all outstanding salaries before the end of the week.

“It was not our intention that workers (would) not receive their monies,” Motlashuping is said to have told labour representatives.

“We have made a commitment that payroll will capture all the outstanding payments that have to be made by Friday, 29 April.

“We have only been here for less than a week and have already unearthed many issues that make workers dissatisfied.

“When you have a dissatisfied workforce, it impacts negatively on the performance of the institution and results in the collapse of services.”

Motlashuping also pointed out that disciplinary processes will be instituted against the parties at fault.

The administration team has also expressed concern at the leaking of the municipality’s confidential information.

Mangaung spokesperson Qondile Khedama said in a statement the interim management team will look into the issue of overtime and acting positions as part of its work to turn around the city’s financial viability.

“Verification will be done and, later, investigations will ensue to assist the administration in coming up with permanent solution regarding overtime and acting allowances,” said Khedama in the statement.

When the former acting city manager, Mzingisi Nkungwana, was being forced out of the municipality in recent weeks, he told journalists “workers may suffer” as he had been barred from doing his work following alleged clashes with mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana.

Nkungwana has repeatedly claimed his relationship with Siyonzana soured after he blocked several corrupt deals allegedly engineered by the mayor such as the alleged ghost political staff.

Siyonzana last week denied the existence of ghost workers in the municipality and that he was not involved in any corrupt deals. – 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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