Twin Tower victim's helping hand in Knysna

07 February 2018 - 13:59 By Petru Saal
Knysna municipality said Fred Alger's donation had helped families prepare lunches and iron uniforms as their children returned to school in January.
Knysna municipality said Fred Alger's donation had helped families prepare lunches and iron uniforms as their children returned to school in January.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

A US businessman whose company was wiped out in the 9/11 attacks is quietly helping victims of the devastating fires rebuild their lives in one of Knysna’s poorest suburbs.

Thanks to the generosity of Fred Alger‚ the families of 48 fire victims from White Location now have access to basic electricity. They were left in the dark after the fire in June 2017.

Alger lost his brother‚ nephew and the entire staff of the Fred Alger Investment Firm during the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. At the age of 65 he had to rebuild his entire business. He also started a trust in his name to help other victims of loss and devastation.

Alger lost his brother‚ nephew and the entire staff of the Fred Alger Investment Firm during the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. At the age of 65 he had to rebuild his entire business

He is now based in Cape Town but his partner was born and raised in Knysna. It was that connection that prompted him to donate $100‚000 (R11.9m) to the victims of the fire after hearing about its devastating effect on the Western Cape Garden Route town.

His trust donated R13‚200 towards electricity connection fees in White Location. “It was such a struggle using a paraffin stove‚ candles and so forth‚ and it was a very dangerous situation that could create more fires. I am very happy now because my TV and fridge is connected‚” said one of the beneficiaries‚ Mkhuseli Mankayi.

The Knysna municipality said in a statement that the donation had helped families prepare lunches and iron uniforms as their children returned to school in January.

Ward 4 Councillor and Planning and Integrated Human Settlements Chairperson‚ Velile Waxa said: “I would like to thank you for making the electrification of these houses possible. I am humbled by your generosity.”

Hundreds of homes were destroyed and seven people died in the fires which raged in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

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