Highlights of Mangaung Metro’s performance in 2016

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Mangaung Metro Municipality has had an action-packed 2016. Many changes came about when the country held the local elections on 3 August 2016. During campaigning, the ruling ANC party announced Olly Mlamleli, who was the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in the Free State, as the new mayoral candidate. That meant that Thabo Manyoni would not be contesting a second term.
In one of his last official speeches, Manyoni praised his officials for what they had done for the community. “I think I have served the people of Mangaung very well. I tried my best to work with our communities and to make sure that young people also felt part of this city, as they are the future of our cities. Residents should understand that they have been blessed to have people who can serve them well. I hope that after the elections they will support the incumbent who comes in and that they will be able to work with the incumbent to make Mangaung a better place,” he said.
Following the elections, the ANC won the Mangaung Metro with 56.77% of the votes, down from 66.27% in 2011. The DA got 27.11% of the votes. The former Naledi Municipality and Soutpan were added to the metro.
Mangaung Metro Executive Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, was officially inaugurated at a ceremony held at the Bram Fischer Building in Bloemfontein during September. This after opposition parties boycotted the event, saying that it was wasteful expenditure. She used the occasion to present her plans for the metro, which included increasing infrastructure and the availability of land.
Mlamleli revealed her five-year plan for the metro. On the agenda, was improving the operation of water and sewerage plants. The municipality would also deal with water leakages and sewage spills. She warned that there were individuals who were stealing water from the municipality through illegal connections, adding that they would be dealt with. The recent drought faced by the country had led to the municipality enforcing tight water restrictions.
In October, Bloemwater revealed that the two dams supplying water to the metro, namely Welbedacht Dam and Rustfontein Dam were both at extremely low levels of 9 percent and 25 percent respectively. Mangaung implemented a 30 percent water restriction, and will continue to work on improving its water infrastructure programme, as well as monitor water wastage through leaks.
Meanwhile, the Department of Water Affairs has been fast tracking a planned water pipeline from the Gariep Dam in order to alleviate the water supply crisis in the Mangaung Metro Municipality. Construction on the Gariep pipeline was initially planned to start by 2035, but the current drought and shortage of water urged the department to ramp up this schedule considerably.
Public transport in the metro was also put in the spotlight. Mlamleli revealed that the municipality was working together with the transport industry to ensure that it obtains an Integrated Public Transport Network. She added they were working towards opening the R400 million taxi rank in the Bloemfontein CBD, which had not been used since its renovation.
A memorandum of agreement between the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and taxi associations of Mangaung was signed in October. The agreement upheld a mutual understanding between the metro and the taxi industry regarding the implementation of the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN). The IPTN is a new transport system that includes the construction of bus ways, bus stations, new depots for buses and the procurement of buses that cater for people with disabilities.
With the mayor having laid out her five-year plan for the metro, residents of Mangaung Metro can look forward to its implementation, as this will hopefully improve their lives. – Seithati Semenokane 
seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za