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Gift of the Givers withdraws after municipality pays companies who did nothing

Gift of the Givers have pulled out of Makhanda in the Eastern Cape where they have been drilling boreholes due to a dispute with government over payment.

The Humanitarian aid group undertook the job to supply water to the area ahead of the drought but claims they have not receive any agreed payment from the municipality, who has instead paid private contractors and consultants R10-million for doing nothing.

The NGO say their disagreement is however not with the Makhanda municipality, but the department of water and sanitation who have not paid for their services.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau told media on Thursday that during a disaster, relief funds are allocated to an affected municipality and responsibility falls on the department to pay service providers.

In this instance, about R22-million has been allocated to the local Makhanda municipality to assist with drought relief and it is their responsibility to settle payments.

The Gift of the Givers drew up an agreed rescue plan with the municipality in February and advised that about R23-million would be required to restore water supply to the area.

The NGO made use of a specialist hydrologist who drilled the boreholes.  Locating water was challenging and the geology was difficult but they were assured that government funding had been secured.

They were later advised by the department that only local companies could be paid by the drought funds.

The Gift of the Givers regret that they are unable to continue with their relief efforts and their hearts go out to the people of Makhanda.