Thieves stealing Gift of the Givers equipment hurts the desperate and vulnerable
There was a delay in the delivery of water to residents of water-scarce Makhanda on Thursday, as batteries had been stolen off their trucks the previous night, according to the organisation’s project manager Ali Sablay.
Previous items stolen, some of which are hard to source, include tools, diesel and vehicle batteries with the incidents having occurred in Graaff-Reinet, Khayelitsha and Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape.
Acts of vandalism include damage to JoJo water tanks and pumps as well as theft of solar panels.
The aid organisation’s director, Badr Kazi said in Khayelitsha, community members assisted the team to retrieve the stolen equipment and diesel.
However, in Graaff-Reinet and Makhanda, there was disappointment as the items had yet to be recovered and the suspects brought to book.
“As an NGO, no matter our size, we cannot afford to continually replace items stolen as we are accountable to our donors for funding and would rather spend this money on enriching our help to distressed communities,” said Kazi.
“It is a sad indictment on a small group of selfish individuals who in an act of myopic thinking, put at risk the well-being of an entire community.
“It’s sadder still that there are individuals in our communities who buy these items with the clear knowledge that these items were procured through nefarious means.”
Last year in October, while en route to offer relief to drought stricken Graaff-Reinet, essential tools such as rare batteries, drilling tools, drilling spanners, diesel and other items were stolen during the night, which caused a major setback to drilling operations.
GOTG founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said: “This happens occasionally but is not a reflection of the community.
“It’s either a rogue element that’s involved or an act of desperation due to poverty in our country.”
He said quite often, the community where the assistance is rendered, offered security and protection and in some cases where theft had occurred community volunteered to raise funds to compensate for the loss.
“We were very touched but politely refused as they are already in dire circumstances.”@TheCapeArgus