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Why Gift of the Givers withdrew services from Makhanda after spending R15m

Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown, faces a major water crisis. Gift of the Givers had stepped in to help the municipality.

Makhanda residents queue as humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers delivers water. Picture: facebook.com

CAPE TOWN – Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said the organisation withdrew its services in Makhanda following a dispute with the Water and Sanitation Department.

Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown, faces a major water crisis. Gift of the Givers had stepped in to help the municipality. The organisation drilled boreholes and distributed bottled water, among other things, to residents to assist the municipality. The operation cost the organisation R15 million to date.

Sooliman said they had no problems with the municipality but ran into issues with the department over the payment of services.

“The said the moment the money comes, they would give it to us. It was declared a disaster and was gazetted. In March we had a meeting. There it was decided that the money would be paid to us. The municipality is not the problem. We have a fantastic relationship with the municipality and there were no issues. The department started engaging us a few weeks ago… they said we did all the work and the money should come to us. This week the department said R10 million had come through, but it could not be given to us.”

Listen to the audio for more.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)