State to cough up R10m for work already done by Gift of the Givers

State to cough up R10m for work already done by Gift of the Givers

- The Department of Water and Sanitation will be forking over R10 million for work already carried out by the Gift of the Givers in a water-scarce municipality in the Eastern Cape

- This comes as the organisation announces that they will be leaving the area on a matter of principle

- According to Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the organisation had carried out work in the area, consulting the municipality, only to be told new companies had been selected to repeat their efforts

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The state is expected to pay private contractors R10 million for humanitarian work already carried out by the Gift of the Givers.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman released a statement earlier today, indicating that the organisation would have no choice but to leave the area.

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According to IOL, the organisation had arrived just in the nick of time, with dams critically low and some residents without water for weeks.

The organisation had delivered clean drinking water to both local and rural communities, installing JoJo tanks and testing the quality of borehole water.

Upon arrival, Sooliman says that they had drawn up a rescue plan, commencing with 'saving the city' immediately.

They had approached the municipality, advising that the plan would cost around R23 million, and needed government funding. The area had been dubbed a disaster area by the government itself, with emergency funding promised to the Gift of the Givers.

Sooliman explained that the municipality had been upfront about the situation, uncertain of when they would receive said funding, and how much it would be:

"We said it's fine, their word was good enough for us. We were told that at a council meeting in March it was a unanimous decision that Gift of the Givers will be funded the moment the funds arrive."

Everything imaginable was done by the organisation to assist the region, with 15 boreholes drilled, the water tested and water brought in by truck:

"In all this time we had not received a single cent from any government institution. The costs were rising daily. Thus far the intervention has cost us R15 million."

A flabbergasted Sooliman explained that the worst news had come when President Cyril Ramaphosa himself visited the area on Freedom Day.

The department had told the organisation to move their vehicles and that there had been no water crisis in the region. Ironically, the president had, in his speech, said that there would be no freedom until Makhanda had water.

This week had brought the final straw for the organisation, with the department saying that only local companies could be paid for intervention work, with a private consultancy already earmarked for a R1.2 million payment for borehole-related work, something that had already been done.

Another company would be paid R7 million for the drilling of the boreholes (another task that had already been completed). A third company would be paid almost R2 million for electrical work connecting the boreholes to the treatment plant.

This move has left the organisation devastated, with the statement commenting that:

"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. Our hearts are with the people of Makhanda, the elderly, the women and children and everyone who waited so patiently for water but as a matter of principle we cannot continue"

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