The Mangaung Metro council is expected to soon approve the disbandment of its power utility Centlec’s board, which only has two board members after a mass resignation and the declaration of its deputy chairperson as a delinquent director.
According to acting municipal manager Tebogo Motlashuping, Mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana has made an undertaking to finalise a decision on Centlec.
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“Centlec governance leaves much to be desired… It is in a disarray. All board members have resigned, there’s only two members left.
“We took the Centlec matter to section 80, where it will be taken to council for disbandment, and the new board to be appointed. The mayor made a commitment that a decision will be taken in the next council meeting,” said Motlashuping.
He was sent by the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to fix Mangaung that has been marred by rampant corruption and mismanagement.
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This week he briefed Parliament’s Cogta portfolio committee on the progress made since the metro was put under national administration earlier this year.
A history of dysfuction
Dudu Myeni was deputy chairperson of the Centlec board until 2020, when she was declared a delinquent director for life by the high court.
Throughout the years, allegations of nepotism and corruption rocked the utility. Its former CEO Malefane Sebokwana was also accused of illegally hiking his annual salary to R2.4 million.
Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Eddie Rasoeu said on Wednesday that he has tabled a motion to have Centlec dissolved with immediate effect.
“The non-functioning board, mismanagement, cadre deployment and corruption have left Centlec a dysfunctional mess, as it is incapable of serving its 186,858 customers.
“The communities of Mangaung, Kopanong, and Mohokare have been badly affected as electricity supply, maintenance, and infrastructure by the distributor have become unreliable. In addition to load-shedding, residents have to struggle with an electricity distributor that can’t service its customers,” Rasoeu said in a statement.
Stalled metro police being resuscitated
According to Motlashuping, work was underway to rebuild the metro’s police department.
Police trainees complained of being left out in the cold by municipal officials. They alleged that their monthly R2 500 stipend was abruptly stopped without any explanation.
A formal launch of the police department was postponed in September last year after the Mangaung Service Delivery Forum (MSDF) threatened a shutdown should it go ahead.
The organisation cast questions around the recruitment process for the metro police department, demanding greater transparency. They argued that a new police department was not viable because the SAPS could look after the metro.
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Motlashuping told the MPs that national Treasury recommended that the police department be promulgated as long as the funding won’t be exceeded.
“On the eve of launching the metro department, there was political directive given to the municipality that this should be halted. By law, the city should have a metro department.
“We are going to make sure the metro police is revamped and launched and the budget not to be exceeded.”
Zoo relocation back on track
Meanwhile, plans were afoot to relocate the dilapidated Bloemfontein Zoo and bring it to its former glory, Motlashuping said.
The zoo is currently closed and has not been operating for years.
Years of financial mismanagement left animals suffering while some simply vanished.
Although Motlashuping did not give further details on the relocation, The Citizen previously reported that R123 million was set aside in 2013 to relocate the zoo to Kwaggafontein just outside the city.
Nine years later, none of this had come to pass.
When The Citizen visited the new property last year, an R18 million double fence marked the location of the intended new zoo property.
Even at this new location, outside Langenhovenpark, north-west of the city, The Citizen found the multimillion-rand fence riddled with gaping holes and openings at the bottom.
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