President to visit beleaguered Mangaung

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa Facebook Page

President Cyril Ramaphosa will visit Mangaung, the first metro in the country to be placed under administration, this coming weekend. He will hold a Presidential Imbizo at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday (9 April).

He will travel down Moshoeshoe Road, which should have been completed years ago; however, its construction has stood still despite residents’ complaints.

The executive mayor of the Metro, Mxolisi Siyonzana, announced in January that the completion of the Road was on his list of things to be completed within his first 100 days in office. Siyonzana also put the Metro’s multi-million taxi rank, which was completed more than a decade ago, in the spotlight. He said that him and relevant stakeholders would facilitate the resolution of the R400 million taxi rank, which has become a very expensive white elephant.

Residents in most parts of Mangaung have expressed their dissatisfaction countless times over the lack of quality service delivery, with the Metro ‘boasting’ potholes in most of its streets.

The Metro’s headquarters, Bram Fischer Building, has seen two pressure groups, the Mangaung Concerned Community (MCC) and Mangaung Service Delivery Forum (MSDF), hold protest marches to deliver memoranda that detailed their demands. The lack of quality services, the high unemployment rate and corruption within the Metro have without fail topped their list of grievances. The MCC recently also demanded that the council should be dissolved, as they believed that it had been compromised.

Ramaphosa’s visit to the troubled Metro comes on the heels of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Select Committee’s recommendation that the Metro be handed over to the National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to see if they cannot remedy the situation. The NCOP’s chief whip for the Free State, Itumeleng Ntsube, previously stated in an NCOP sitting that nothing has improved since the Metro was placed under administration in 2019; instead, matters have deteriorated.

Ntsube’s statement stood in stark contrast to Premier Sisi Ntombela’s statement in her 2022 State of the Province Address that the decision to place the Metro under administration was paying off.

Corn Koteli

tshehla@centralmediagroup.co.za