File photo: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA).

PORT ELIZABETH - Government has agreed to compensate humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers for its drought intervention work done in Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown. 

A meeting was held in Makhanda on Thursday following a R10 million dispute between the Makana Municipality and the humanitarian organisation. 

The municipality had initially said it would pay the sum of money to private contractors in the town, despite critical drought intervention work being carried out by Gift of the Givers. 

In a statement on Friday, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they held a constructive meeting on Thursday with the Makana Municipality, together with various stakeholders, including representatives of the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the office of the Premier. 

Sooliman said that payment would be considered for 11 out of the 15 boreholes drilled by Gift of the Givers and no further intervention was required. 

It emerged in the meeting that there was no longer a disaster or water crisis in Makhanda and that the water situation had stabilised. 

Gift of the Givers was asked if it could provide 20 JoJo tanks to the municipality at no cost in the interest of the community and the organisation said it was considering it favourably. 

"Given that it was emphasised that there is no further water crisis in Makhanda, that Gift of the Givers services are no longer required, that we will be compensated to some extent in a manner determined by an arm of government and that the municipality would prefer using its own service providers to complete all necessary work, Gift of the Givers will commence the process of total withdrawal from Makhanda." 

Gift of the Givers said it was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. 

The organisation had arrived in the town in February, bringing with it a specialist hydrologist who struck liquid gold when he found drinking water at his first drilling attempt into a rock formation. 

The organisation went on to drill 15 boreholes. It was a critical time for the municipality after the drought had left dams in the west critically low and some residents had been without water in their taps for weeks. 

On a daily basis clean drinking water was delivered to local and rural communities, the water quality of the boreholes was tested, and Jojo tanks were installed in communal areas. 

African News Agency (ANA)