Givers step in again as Settlers hits beyond-cricital 7%


Gift of the Givers recently brought a third water tanker to Makhanda (Grahamstown). It was delivered days before the city’s supply was due to halve, as Settlers Dam becomes too low to extract water from. Meanwhile senior adviser in the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) Neil Mcleod was due to meet with Makana officials this week to discuss the next steps in managing Makhanda’s water crisis, and stepped water tariffs to reduce consumption were proposed.

A 30-ton superlink truck with a capacity for 20 000 litres of water has been sponsored to Gift of the Givers by Afri-Save Cash & Carry, and Kwantu Private Game Reserve. It joins two 10-ton trucks already in service through the humanitarian relief organisation.

Earlier this year, Isuzu donated two trucks to assist the humanitarian organisation’s intervention in Makhanda’s water crisis. Each carries 7500 litres and the organisation’s Project Manager Ali Sablay said both were filling up twice a day at the borehole the organisation drilled near Ntsika Secondary School. They were distributing water to residents in parts of east Makhanda, Inkanini and Sun City informal settlements, as well as Scotts Farm, Alicedale, Riebeeck East and Fort Beaufort.

From reports in this week’s full council meeting, it seems the latest intervention may have arrived just in time.

Settlers Dam, which feeds Makhanda’s western supply, is at 7%. The much smaller Howieson’s Poort is at 23%. Councillor Brian Fargher raised concern in yesterday’s Council meeting about reports that the pumps at Settlers Dam were at risk of cavitating.

Cavitation in pumps is caused when air bubbles form. When these collapse, they trigger powerful shock waves inside the pump, causing significant damage.

A second reliable source confirmed to Grocott’s Mail that the pumps at Settlers have been compromised by pumping at too low a level, thus allowing air into them.

During a recent visit to Makhanda by Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti, and Co-operative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize, focusing on the water and sanitation crisis, Grocott’s Mail spoke to head of DWS in the Province Portia Makhanya. Asked about the current state of Makhanda’s supply, and the role Gift of the Givers continues to play, she spoke about the upgrade of James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works currently under way. This would bring the output up to 20 megalitres a day and was intended to meet the city’s total demand.

“The 8ML from the west will be over and above the demand. Once we have recovered from drought, that will help meet future demand and expansion,” Makhanya said.

The project is due to be finished in June 2021. “But between now and then we hope the west will have recovered. As we speak, 2-3ML connected from east to west is being pumped. This supply might not reach high-lying areas and this is where the boreholes will come in useful,” Makhanya said.

“The 0.8ML coming from the boreholes at Waainek side will be treated and will be able to serve the high-lying areas,” Makhanya said.

Sablay said Gift of the Givers’ concern was to ensure that vulnerable people – babies and the elderly in particular – receive clean drinking water.

“The water we are delivering has been tested by our labs and so far, so good,” Sablay said. “When [Gift of the Givers Director] Dr [Imtiaaz] Sooliman heard that the supply to the west side of the town will soon come to an end, he said we should bring another tanker for water deliveries just to those areas,” said Sablay.

“Our hearts are with those residents of Makhanda, we are humbled in partnering with Gift of the Givers assisting its people, students, farmers and animals with much needed water and resources,” said Group Chairman for co-sponsor, the Africorp Group of Companies, Yusuf Jeeva.

23 May 2018: Refurbishment of the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works under way. Photo: Sue Maclennan


Cabinet established the PICC to drive and monitor infrastructure development, one of six job-creation priority areas named in the government’s December 2010 New Growth Path (NGP) which set a goal of 5 million new jobs by 2020.

Infrastructure was identified as the first jobs driver, laying the basis for higher growth, inclusivity and job creation. “Yet weak capacity, poor coordination and weak integration limit the development impact of infrastructure,” the PICC’s summary of the national infrastructure plan explains.

The PICC’s job was to coordinate, integrate and accelerate implementation; develop a single common National Infrastructure Plan that would be monitored and centrally driven; identify who was responsible and hold them to account; and develop a 20-year planning framework beyond one administration to avoid a stop-start pattern to the infrastructure roll-out.

The other five NGP areas were agriculture, mining, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

Retired head of water and sanitation in eThekwini Municipality Neil Macleod is an expert consultant on the PICC who is advising on water and sanitation infrastructure development in Makana Municipality, among other areas.
More about the New Growth Path here:
More about 2012 the PICC plan here:


Stepped water tariffs to slow consumption

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