2 months ago

South African humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers says it’s withdrawing from Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

The organization says there has been no disagreement with the Makhanda Municipality.

“On 9 February the municipality requested our assistance and said in five days everything will be back on line in terms of water supply. Gift of the Givers intervened on 12 February and explained to the municipality the extent of the problem was far greater than anyone envisaged.

Photo: Gift of The Givers
Photo: Gift of The Givers

“We drew up a rescue plan and commenced the process of "saving the city" immediately. We advised the municipality that the cost to solve the problem will be in the region of R23 million and that this will require government funding,” Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement on Thursday.

He said municipality said the area had been declared a disaster in the government gazette and they would receive emergency funding with which they will remunerate Gift of the Givers.

The Gift of the Givers drilled 15 boreholes, tested the water and brought in special filtration systems, delivered bottled water and water by truck.

Photo: Gift of The Givers
Photo: Gift of The Givers

According to Sooliman costs were rising daily, thus far the intervention has cost R15 million.

He stated that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DSW) started engaging us.

“But the best came from DSW on Freedom Day, when President Cyril Ramaphosa, was addressing the nation.

Photo: Gift of The Givers
Photo: Gift of The Givers

“They told us to move our trucks as there is no water crisis in Makhanda. Ironically, the president mentioned in his speech that there can be no freedom if there is no water in Makhanda,” Sooliman said.

Sooliman stated that this week they received the most incredible feedback from DWS, they said only companies from Grahamstown could be paid for the drought intervention.

Photo: Gift of The Givers
Photo: Gift of The Givers

“A private consultancy will be paid R1.2 million for work related to boreholes (we did the consultancy work, drew up a plan to save the city and sited the boreholes), another company will be paid R7 million for boreholes (which we drilled) and a third company will be paid R1.9 million for electrical work to connect boreholes which we drilled at Waainek (and which we have not be compensated for) to the treatment plant,”he added.

Sooliman said this is R10 million of taxpayers’ money handed out freely by the government to people as remuneration for work that Gift of the Givers did.

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