Gift of Givers says it’s been left high and dry in Makhanda
The Gift of the Givers, which has for several months provided water and vital infrastructure to the crippled Makana municipality, has pulled out of the city, claiming the government was paying private contractors R10m to do similar work for which they had not received a cent.
The charity organisation’s head, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, says Gift of the Givers (GoG) had blown more than R15m of its own money in good faith to urgently drill boreholes and create the means for people in Makhanda – who had been without piped water for weeks – to access clean water.
The organisation’s decision to withdraw from the city has upset residents and caused a social media furore, with most citizens placing the blame squarely on the Makana municipality.
Parts of the city could be plunged back into a water crisis after the organisation indicated it may be forced to remove all the infrastructure it had added to the boreholes it drilled, including water tanks, pumps and filtration systems.
Both the department of water and sanitation (DWS) and the Makana municipality are denying any responsibility for the GoG’s decision to pull out.
DWS says its responsibility ended when it provided the municipality with R22m in drought relief.
It had no say in what was done with that money, says its spokesperson Sputnik Ratau.
Meanwhile, the municipality says Gift of the Givers undertook the work with its eyes wide open and with no guarantees that they would be refunded.
Sooliman disagrees. He says in the short-term, Gift of the Givers distributed bottled water and water from tankers to desperate people. Longer term, Sooliman, said he had explained to the municipality that his interventions would require government funding to the tune of R23m to assist the city.
He said Gift of the Givers took on good faith the municipality’s assurance that this could come from the drought relief funding it would receive in due course.
The final straw had been when the DWS this week informed GoG that only companies from Makhanda could be paid for any drought intervention...