Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman
Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman

No thanks or awards needed, we do it for the people, says Gift of the Givers

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Feb 2, 2021

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DURBAN - FOUNDER of the disaster relief group Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, has thanked the community for their outpouring of love and support, however he added that there was no need for special thanks from the government or any head of state.

"We appreciate and are grateful for the support but it is not about being thanked," he said.

On Tuesday, social media users took aim at President Cyril Ramaphosa, accusing him of failing to acknowledge the work done by the organisation after he made mention of contributions made by a well-known cellphone network provider as well as the Cuban medical brigade in the fight against Covid in South Africa. Ramaphosa was further slammed after he said he would nominate the Cuban doctors working in South Africa for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I have been given three instructions and that is to provide support unconditionally, not expect a 'thank you' and not to get a kick up our backs. So far, we have not got a kick up our backs. This is worth more to us than anything. The love of the people is priceless," he said.

Sooliman said he was shocked at the number of calls he had been receiving based on the president's speech.

"It is not about being mentioned. We don't expect it and the reaction on the faces of those we have helped is better than anything. People love us and our work and we appreciate it," he said.

Sooliman added that while they appreciated the sentiment, the president not thanking the organisation did not matter to them.

The organisation is known for selfless efforts for those in need. Last month, the group upgraded accommodation for medical staff at the Bisho Hospital in the Eastern Cape. They also donated food parcels, sanitary packs and meals to gender-based violence survivors in Philippi.

Meanwhile, the DA's Siviwe Gwarube has said it will nominate South Africa’s health-care workers for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

Gwarube, the party's spokesperson on Health, said it was "truly bizarre bizarre at best and a great insult to South African health-care workers at worst. No one will ever argue that we cannot express gratitude to international partners who have assisted the country in this journey, but that surely cannot be done by overlooking the monumental sacrifice made by our health-care workers under impossible conditions," he added.


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