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Where has Makhanda's drought relief efforts money gone?

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said costs incurred by the organisation include providing bottled water worth R5 million to residents, drilling 15 boreholes and bringing in a specialist geologist.

FILE: Gift of the Givers drilling a borehole in drought-stricken Makhanda. Picture: Gift of the Givers

CAPE TOWN - The controversy around efforts by disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers to help residents of drought-stricken Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, seems no closer to a resolution.

After 13 weeks, the organisation has pulled out because it says other companies are now to be paid for the work it has done.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said costs incurred by the organisation include providing bottled water worth R5 million to residents, drilling 15 boreholes, having the water tested by international laboratories and bringing in a specialist geologist.

According to Sooliman, the municipality had promised the money would be forthcoming once government declared a disaster area, which it has now done.

Cape Talks' Pippa Hudson spoke to both Sooliman and Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation.

"It's not about the money, it's about the principle... That's why we've pulled out," he said.

Ratau confirmed the Department of Water and Sanitation had transferred drought disaster funding to the Makhanda municipality, but said the department had no say about how the money is allocated.

"I cannot talk about money that has been paid to other service providers that were not paid by the department.

"The issue of who gets what work done and who gets paid from that money through the municipality's supply chain management processes is something that we are not in control of.

"Somewhere along the line, nobody can account where that money has gone."

Listen to the audio below for more.