22 May 2019

South Africa: Makhanda, Gift of the Givers Meet to Resolve Financial Stalemate

The Makana Municipality and charity organisation Gift of the Givers will return to the drawing board after a financial impasse forced the two to part ways following a 13-week partnership.

News of a resolution came on Wednesday when Makana Municipality spokesperson Anele Mjekula released a statement saying they were formulating how to compensate Gift of the Givers for the multi-million rand work they had completed.

The municipality said officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency, the municipality and Gift of the Givers had costed the work done.

"They are now putting together a report that will clarify the amount of work that has been done and how much it cost. As the institution we are looking at the modalities of paying the Gift of the Givers the costs of the work they have done."

Mjekula said the municipality regretted the "misunderstanding".

"We would not like these issues to negatively affect the relationship that we have had with Gift of the Givers up to now. We will issue more updates as soon as they become available."

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Gift of the Givers spokesperson and founder Imtiaz Sooliman said they were going into the meeting on Thursday with good faith.

"We haven't seen what they promised up to now. [However] we still have a good relationship with everybody despite what happened. We haven't cut our relationship or dialogue with them."

Sooliman said they were sending a project manager to Makhanda.

"We are quite happy to have the meeting. We hope they come up with something amicable because at the end of the day, the more we delay, the more the residence will suffer. The faster we can get this thing done, the better."

After devastating droughts crippled the Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) community, Gift of the Givers provided lifesaving interventions including hiring a hydrologist and digging boreholes to begin to provide a long-term solution.

Sooliman has stated that a full council of politicians met with them on numerous occasions during the crisis and promised whatever national disaster funds may come as compensation for R15m worth of work done.

Last week the municipality said that in October 2018 the Department of Water and Sanitation informed them they would assist drought relief efforts by funding the drilling of boreholes. They then followed due process and appointed a consultant as a first step.

Sooliman thereafter questioned why the consultant was not initially brought in to provide relief that Gift of the Givers provided.

He clarified that monies would be paid for the for the borehole and filtration system work they had done.

"All bottled water, water tankers, accommodation costs, fuel, vehicle repairs, cost of flights, water testing, payment of service providers for filtration, laboratory and electrical services, has been paid by Gift of the Givers as a service to the community of Makhanda."

Source: News24

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