17 May 2019

South Africa: Gift of the Givers Pulls the Plug On the City of Saints

Photo: Gift of the Givers
(file photo)

After spending millions drilling boreholes of its own accord to bring water to the people of drought-stricken Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, the humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has abruptly upped and left as accusations swirl in the City of Saints over verbal agreements for payment, procurement processes and corruption.

Water on Freedom Day

Outside the stadium where a huge, white marquee housed the 2019 national Freedom Day celebrations (with a few weeks to go to the elections, most of the crowd came in ANC gear) in April, Gift of the Givers parked a few of its lorries - one or two with green JoJo tanks containing borehole water - to serve the sanitation and other water needs at the occasion, and some more huge trucks from which 60,000 two-litre bottles of water were distributed to anybody who queued for it.

Few in the queues wanted to give us an interview, but some of those who did were from elsewhere in the drought-stricken province, taking back home with them six-packs of bottled water, free of charge. In supermarkets in Makhanda, water is sold for R1 a litre - a steep price for something that should be free, if you're...

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