Free State premier's official residence in Bloemfontein goes up in flames

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Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana's official residence has been engulfed by a fire.
Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana's official residence has been engulfed by a fire.
PHOTO: Mlungisi Louw
  • A blaze has engulfed the official residence of Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana. 
  • Dukwana was elected to the position barely a month ago. 
  • The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana's official residence in Bloemfontein has been engulfed by a fire. 

Confirming the incident, the premier's spokesperson Sello Dithebe told News24: "I am here at the residence, and a fire has engulfed the property."

He added that firefighters and other emergency services personnel were on the scene.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Free State police spokesperson, Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, refused to comment, saying investigations were under way. 

According to Dithebe, there appeared to have been no injuries or casualties due to the blaze.

From the video of the remains of the house shared by Dukwana's staff with News24, the large property suffered extensive damage, with the roof almost completely destroyed.

READ | 'A day of hope, restoration': Dukwana elected Free State premier 11 years after Magashule fired him

Smoke could still be seen billowing out from the remains of the home, with numerous firefighters still on the scene.

Dukwana was officially sworn in as the province's new premier just last month, after the former Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC defeated the DA's Roy Jankielsohn.

This came after Sisi Ntombela was forced out as premier by her party, which cited her failure to turn around the fortunes of the province's ailing municipalities during her tenure. 

Dukwana's rise to the top came almost 11 years after he was dismissed from then-premier Ace Magashule's cabinet.

His journey to the top started when he was tasked with the responsibilities of rebuilding the ANC in the province, after being appointed as the interim provincial committee (IPC) convenor in 2018.

READ | Mxolisi Dukwana reshuffles his cabinet and fires three Free State MECs

The decision to appoint him came after the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein declared the provincial conference of the ANC in 2018 unlawful and unconstitutional.

The conference elected former secretary-general Magashule's allies: Sam Mashinini as chairperson; William Bulwane as deputy chairperson; Ntombela as treasurer; and Paseka Nompondo as provincial secretary, deputised by Mamiki Qabathe.

In January, Dukwana was elected as Free State ANC chairperson after receiving 346 votes, while Ntombela received 303.

It was a clean sweep for the Dukwana slate after his allies took the rest of the top five positions.

Barely a month after being at the helm of both the ANC in the province and the provincial government, Dukwana reshuffled his cabinet and fired three MECs.

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