A passing conversation between Imtiaz Sooliman from Gift of the Givers and the Moosa family of Willowton (makers of Sunfoil), at an industry function on 10 June, has led to a multi-million rand donation by the popular sunflower oil brand to provide life-saving water to residents in Gqeberha as they face a rapidly-approaching Day Zero.
When it became apparent that Gift of the Givers planned to send their borehole equipment to the region, the owners of Sunfoil made an immediate commitment to provide financial assistance in the form of R5-million worth of urgent water relief to the people of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) who have been hit by the crisis.
As Sooliman says: “The speed, commitment and passion of both parties to provide help where it is desperately needed is a wonderful testament to the values of the Willowton Group and underscores the generosity that we South Africans have at our core”.
What has caused Gqeberha’s water crisis?
With Nelson Mandela Bay just hours away from a catastrophe, the region edges dangerously close to running out of water. A severe seven-year drought has depleted dams and reservoirs in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, thus affecting the supply of water to Gqeberha. Once the dams run dry completely it is estimated that 107 suburbs, townships, and metro areas will be waterless within a month.
Due to dam levels being critically low, very little of the remaining water in the area is potable, and chemicals used to treat the water have been found to be harmful to children, livestock, and vegetation. What little water there is cannot be viably pumped from the dams, leaving major industrial areas – that are vital to the local economy – affected.
Mohamed Ishfaaq Moosa, Operations Executive of Willowton Group, the makers of Sunfoil, says:
“Our hearts go out to the communities in the Eastern Cape who are affected by this dire water shortage. As a brand at the heart of these communities, Sunfoil has partnered with the aid organisation Gift of the Givers to bring urgent relief and hope to the Gqeberha area. Our donation is enabling Gift of the Givers to bring in the equipment and manpower needed to drill boreholes for various communities so that lives and livelihoods can be saved.”
Moosa also called on other market-leading companies to assist in this effort.
“Sunfoil and Gift of the Givers encourage other great South African brands to rally behind this initiative to serve these stricken communities and in a small but tangible way, repay the loyalty and support they have enjoyed in the past.”
Why Gift of the Givers?
Sunfoil chose to partner with NGO Gift of the Givers because of their international experience in assisting drought-stricken communities in South Africa, other parts of Africa, Yemen, and Pakistan. The aid organisation also recently installed boreholes in the disaster-stricken area of Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal who suffered no water for months.
WATCH Gift of the Givers steps in to assist the Tongaat community
Water drilling equipment is currently being transported to Gqeberha from other parts of the country so that Gift of the Givers can start pumping water across the Nelson Mandela Bay area as a matter of urgency.
“We are very thankful that we are able to work with Gift of the Givers’ excellent team to provide lasting water solutions for the Gqeberha community,” says Mohamed Ishfaaq Moosa.