Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers are withdrawing from Makhanda in the Eastern Cape.
The organisation has drilled 11 boreholes and supplied water to the town during the drought. They will take along the Jojo tanks, filtration systems and water tankers they brought in to relieve the municipality’s water crisis.
The operation has cost the organisation R15m to date.
It is reported that the Department of Water and Sanitation will pay three companies R10m for work already carried out by Gift of the Givers.
Eusebius McKaiser spoke to Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman about why the organisation is leaving.
We have withdrawn our trucks and are leaving today. It is a matter of principle.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
Sooliman says Gift of the Givers thought it was going to the City temporarily, but after assessing the situation, it saw a need to stay longer.
We started providing bottled water because we said it is a short temporary process, not a long issue.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
The municipality agreed and said: 'Look can you prepare an intervention plan'. We said we will fund what we can from our side but this requires government intervention. We said it will cost about R23m to R30m and they said it is fine.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
Sooliman says the municipality promised to pay Gift of the Givers funds as soon as it received funds.
They said they would declare the city a disaster area and get funds, but we don't know how much we will get and we will pass it to you but right now we don't have money. They said when the money comes we will give it to you.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
He says Gift of the givers was informed this week that there is R10m that the municipality has received, but it cannot be given to the organisation.
They said R1.2m is to a consulting company. That company didn't do anything; we did everything on the consultancy.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
The best part is when they said they are giving R7m to a company for the boreholes that we have already drilled.— Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers
In a right of reply, Makhanda municipal manager Mopo Mene says the municipality is sad that Gift of the Givers is leaving the City.
These guys came in very handy, and they helped us substantively. We don't wish to cut ties in the manner in which it is happening.— Mopo Mene, Municipal manager - Makhanda
Mene says they have been given R12m from the Department of Water and Sanitation.
We are looking at the supply-chain process to see that the boreholes are connected.— Mopo Mene, Municipal manager - Makhanda
We never promised money to the Gift of the Givers.— Mopo Mene, Municipal manager - Makhanda
He further says before Gift of the Givers came in they had a consultancy firm studying underground water.
The consultancy fee is about R1.3m.— Mopo Mene, Municipal manager - Makhanda
@Eusebius this municipal manager is dodging questions and is quiet upsetting. For me this is clear corruption. We must make sure that this doesn't go into people pockets and the people of Makhands are left with unconnected boreholes. 😤— Ⓜeta 👑 Motaung (@metam88) May 16, 2019
@Eusebius If the Makana/Grahamstown water issue has now been captured by mafia networks, then clearly South Africa faces a difficult future.— JBKB (@JBKB2) May 16, 2019
@Eusebius these municipalities are so corrupt, corrupt. And uncaring to the citizens.— King Sbu (@SbuIsKing) May 16, 2019
The municipal manager goes on to explain how work was done by Gift of the givers (also highlighting their failures as a municipality) but when funds become available the comrades must have it. pic.twitter.com/kiABKSHhB6
Listen to the full interviews below...