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Gift of the Givers and Makhanda resolve payment dispute

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Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Giver’s will be compensated for its work in the drought-stricken Makhanda municipality. This was the outcome of a meeting between the NGO, the municipality, the Department of Water and Sanitation and other stakeholders yesterday. It follows a dispute over R10 million owed to the relief agency for its drought intervention in Makhanda.

In February, Gift of the Givers Foundation stepped into assist the municipality with a drought intervention plan, as the water shortage had reached a crisis level. Sooliman said his organisation spent a total of R15mil rand in Makhanda where 15 boreholes were drilled, two filtration systems installed to the tune of R750 000 each, R5milllion worth of bottled water and tankers taken to the people every day. However, last week, it was informed it would not be paid for its work.

In a statement issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mamkeli Ngam said a multiparty stakeholders meeting had been fruitful and that plans were now in place to appease all parties.

“Makana Local Municipality has agreed that a consolidated report be produced by Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the Gift of the Givers (GoG),” he said.

“The meeting clarified outstanding issues between GoG, DWS and Makana Local municipality. The spirit in the meeting was positive with an appreciation of the work undertaken by all key stakeholders including the Provincial Government, DWS and the GoG to stabilise the situation.”

Speaking to VOC on Friday, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they were informed there is no longer a water crisis in Makhanda and that the water situation had stabilised.

It was agreed that payment will be considered for 11 out of the 15 boreholes drilled by them. The NGO’s expensive filtration system can be withdrawn as there will no longer be a need for it. Invoices for the work of hydrologist Dr Gideon Groenewald are being considered for payment.

“Gift of the Givers will be compensated to some extent. Invoices were thoroughly scrutinised at the meeting and we were totally transparent. Further information was required on a few invoices which will be completed by Tuesday,” Sooliman explained.

The municipality says it has a list of preferred vendors to complete what it deems necessary.

However, Gift of the Givers was asked if it can provide 20 JoJo tanks to the municipality at no cost in the interest of the community, which they will consider.

The Makhanda municipality has indicated there is no water crisis currently, so Gift of the Givers will now withdraw from Makhanda.

“The meeting ended in good faith. They have handed over our invoices, but we don’t know how much they are going to pay. We have done our bit and we expect them to do their bit. We will move out, and they can bring their own service providers.” VOC


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