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WATCH | Gift of the Givers fights for Nelson Mandela Bay as day zero looms

Humanitarian organisation provides relief to grateful communities

24 June 2022 - 12:30

Gift of the Givers is no stranger to times of crisis in the country. The humanitarian organisation has been on the ground in Nelson Mandela Bay since June 13, providing relief to people affected by the water crisis in the region.

If water completely runs out in the metro, it will be the largest municipality in the Eastern Cape to have reached day zero. 

With hundreds of areas in the red zone, Gift of the Givers has partnered with businesses to help save the city. They will add 15-million litres of water per week to the system, largely through a partnership with Cerebos salt. Cerebos has offered 500,000l of drinking water daily through its desalination plant and this water distribution started on Thursday. 

Gift of the Givers has had four boreholes drilled and resuscitated two municipal boreholes. A fifth borehole is being drilled.

The humanitarian aid organisation hopes to drill 30 in total.

One borehole was drilled at Malabar Primary School. The school’s principal Eugene Serfontein said: “The water crisis is serious. Now that we have a borehole, members of the surrounding area will also be provided with water, thanks to Gift of the Givers.”

Grade 3 teacher at Malabar Primary, Krishnie Pillay, told TimesLIVE within two hours of a plea for help to Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was on the school grounds. 

“It took them only five days to get us a borehole. It can take the government seven years,” Pillay said. 

Twitter users have criticised the government in posts where Gift of the Givers can be seen helping people in the region.

Gift of the Givers drilling specialist Martyn Landmann told TimesLIVE that besides the drought affecting the area, infrastructure needs to be replaced. 

“Some piping underground is almost 100 years old. Who do we blame for the situation we are in? Is it the government of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s or today? It is an expensive job but it can be done,” Landmann said. 

Communities have been provided with 160 JoJo water tanks.

Gift of the Givers has arranged and distributed bottled water to the elderly and physically and mentally challenged.

Sister Suraya Joel, who works in frail care at the Malabar Home for the Aged, said: “We are eternally grateful to Gift of the Givers for the water. We have no water at the moment and it makes it difficult to keep our patients clean and fed.” 

Water pumps and pipes have also been installed.

Gift of the Givers said it would continue its efforts for as long as resources were available. 

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