Bader Kazi, from Gift of the Givers: Corporate Affairs; Adhila Hamdulay, Engen's Corporate Social Investment manager; Unathi Njolaweri- Magida, Engen's Head of Transformation & Stakeholder Engagement and Seelan Naidoo, Engen's general manager: Retail Division with the donated 100 Jojo tanks headed for Makhanda. Picture: Supplied.

 Makhanda - Makhanda's drought relief efforts were on Wednesday given a massive boost following a water donation from Engen. 

Engen partnered with disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers to donate and deliver 100 JoJo tanks to the town, situated in Sarah Baartman District Municipality, which was declared a local disaster area on 25 February.

Makhanda meanwhile, has been without water for the better part of February.

The donated boreholes will be used at borehole sites for filtration purposes and at other sites such as schools, hospitals, clinics, old age homes and other distribution points where the community has access to safe drinkable water through the tanks.

Reduced dam levels on the west and damaged equipment on the east has led to a shortfall of 13 megalitres (13 million litres) of water per day. 

The first 50 will depart on Friday from Cape Town and should reach Makhanda over the weekend, with the remaining 50 arriving early next week.

Speaking of the donation was Engen Petroleum's managing director and CEO Yusa Hassan, who said: “Engen is committed to conducting business in a manner that is compatible with the social needs of the communities in which we operate.

"When our community suffers a natural disaster like this one, we try and step up when we can. We channelled our donation of 100 JoJo tanks through Gift of the Givers to ensure that the tanks are used to the best possible effect during this time of natural disaster,” he adds.

The Makhanda local municipality meanwhile, has also given the green light for Gift of the Givers to start drilling boreholes as a medium-term solution to the Makhanda water crisis.

Gift of the Givers has also arranged for trucks to deliver water to residents after taps in some parts of the town had run dry, as well as brought in a second drilling rig into the town. 

Trucks are set to deliver 360 pallets of water.

Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman of Gift of Givers, said that in spite of the mounting challenges in the face of no rain and limited functional water treatment plants, the organisation was optimistic that it would achieve a substantial measure of success in assisting Makhanda, thanks to the numerous corporate companies and NGO’s that have stepped in to assist.