Seelan Naidoo, general manager for Engen Retail; Unathi Njokweni-Magida, head of transformation and stakeholder engagement, corporate strategy and communication division, Engen; and Badr Kazi of Gift of the Givers. Photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has appealed to the public to help them raise R30million for the drought-stricken town of Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown.

Founder Imtiaz Sooliman said Gift of the Givers began intervention operations on February 12 to help the people, students, farmers and animals in the town.

“We need the support of the government, alumni of Rhodes and the great schools, the exhibitors, tourists and the country as a whole. 

" ‘Saving’ Makhanda creates a model for saving other areas in our country. Only South Africans can save South Africa. We are in this together,” Sooliman said.

Gift of the Givers specialist hydrologist, Dr Gideon Groenewald, and drilling expert Martyn Landmann and Food Consulting Services (nationally accredited water-testing specialists, sponsored by Makro) have come together to ensure the successful drilling of eight boreholes so far.

“Laboratory test results indicate filtration systems have to be installed to provide safe drinking water. Our experts are on it already. The first filtration system should be on site within a few days,” Sooliman said.

The initial phase is three boreholes at Rhodes University, one at Settlers’ Monument, five at the Waainek reser­voir, four at Botha’s Ridge, two at Ntsika school, one each at the cathedral, SANDF, Correctional Services and the K9 unit, all with filtration systems.

“Bottled water, depth of drilling, maintenance and replacement of drilling equipment, water testing, pumps, filtration systems, underground pipes, electrical connections, water tankers, JoJo tanks, labour, logistics and professional expertise is what the R30million will cover. We expect a yield of 5million litres of water per day,” Sooliman said.

Meanwhile, WWF-South Africa’s fourth Journey of Water will take place in the strategic catchment area of the Riviersonderend starting in Greyton in the Western Cape today.

Riviersonderend falls within the Boland Water Source Area, one of 22 strategic water source areas in South Africa, and is the same river that feeds into the Theewaterskloof Dam, which holds 40% of Cape Town’s water supply.

This year’s journey, which aims to reconnect water users with their water source areas, includes celebrity participants such as actress Pearl Thusi and TV personality Claire Mawisa, corporate representatives and journalists.

From March 11 to 13, the participants will hike, bike, paddle and zipline, but will also experience an emotional and intellectual journey as they meet the water heroes on the ground working to address the challenges facing water as it makes its way from the high mountains to taps.

WWF-SA’s Freshwater Programmes head, Christine Colvin, said funding alone could not secure water for the future.

“We are facing a crisis of governance in our water source areas, and this requires a governance solution. The need to secure our water source areas is of national importance.

“We have formed effective partnerships in landscapes such as Riviersonderend and the Breede River where stakeholders have been able to collaborate and get the job done together. 

"And we’ve learned some important lessons about how to strengthen what we have on the ground,” Colvin said.

Contributions can be made to Gift of the Givers via Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, account number 052137228, branch code 057525, reference Makhanda.

For a Section 18A tax benefit certificate, send your deposit slip to [email protected]

Cape Times