Mangaung Mayor Thabo Manyoni says council has approved the construction of a solar park next to Bram Fischer International Airport on the outskirts of Bloemfontein. He was speaking to Bloemfontein Courant after tabling his R6,1 billion budget during a special council meeting at the Bram Fischer Building in Bloemfontein on Thursday 28 March.
“Besides creating jobs, it will be an area where we will be building solar equipment and facilities, providing clean energy at the same time,” he said.
Manyoni said they have also allocated funds towards the development of what he terms a new “city” near the airport. “I am envisaging that the city we build there will be largely driven by solar energy,” he said. He said there is always a lot of talk about clean energy, but seldom any action. “We will make sure that at least at this municipality, we don’t just talk about clean energy. So we will make sure that the city we are building is also solar driven,” he said. Manyoni said he hopes other municipalities will be able to learn from the experience of Mangaung in future. “We always make noise about climate change, but what are we doing about mitigating it? So we decided let’s go for this solar energy once and for all,” he said.
Speaking on challenges faced by the municipality, Manyoni highlighted the eradication of the bucket system and VIP toilets in Botshabelo and Thaba ‘Nchu. He said the municipality will spend R44,1-million in Botshabelo and R56,3-million in Thaba ‘Nchu on this issue during this financial year. Some other highlights include R17,4-million to relocate the zoo; R12,1-million to upgrade swimming pools and stadiums; R26-million for the redevelopment of Hoffman Square; and R42,8-million for the reticulation of N8 corridors.
Bad news for residents is forthcoming tariff increases. However, Manyoni said they have taken the state of the economy into account in formulating the tariff increase proposal. The proposed increases are as follows: Water, 8,8%; Sewerage, 5,9%; Refuse removal, 7%; Electricity 5,25% and Rates 5,9%. The Municipality will spend a total of R931,2-million on capital expenditure, with R5,3-billion budgeted for operating expenditure.