The community of Port Shepstone rallied together last week to prove that charity really does begin at home.
Following the water crisis in the Ugu District, where the taps ran salty, the community, along with the local business forum, joined forces to solve the problem last Monday.
Some prominent businessmen in the area went as far as to open their private boreholes to the public.
The South Coast community woke up to undrinkable, salty tap water as the drought tightened its grip on the province.
The towns and resorts affected included Port Shepstone, Margate, Hibberdene and inland to Bhoboyi.
Most local shops had run out of five-litre bottles of water before lunchtime as customers raced to stock up.
One good samaritan, Yunus Moosa, of the Lucky’s Group of Companies, opened his borehole to the public at the Harbourview shopping centre.
Huge tanks for the underprivileged
Worried that the underprivileged would be ignored, he hired three 18 000-litre water tankers to meet the water needs of nearby rural areas. Moosa did not stop there – he also hired a tanker to service local hospitals along with Selvan Chetty and a Mr Naidoo who also helped with distribution.
“These tankers supplemented the local water authority’s tankers, which could not meet the demand. The community needed to come together to help out wherever we could, and we did this. Water was also distributed to old-age homes, the SPCA and shelters. The community was very grateful for our efforts.”
A local, Moulana Ismail, put a 2 200-litre JoJo tank on his trailer, filled it with pure drinkable borehole water, and began dispensing it in front of his store free.
The water was supplied by businessman Moosa Manjra, who also opened his borehole to his entire neighbourhood at no charge and no restrictions.
Some businessmen in the area dropped their five-litre bottled water price to R10 (net cost).
A business called the Multiwood Group of Companies shut operations last week so that staff could help to distribute thousands of litres of water to some townships.
The group’s director, Yusuf Bux, installed a water tank outside his business for free water distribution to factory workers in the Marburg industrial district.
Coming to the rescue
One Port Shepstone resident, Cheryl Gamble, said the community came to the rescue of residents.
“They really did come to our rescue and helped to solve the water crisis. What they have done for the people of Port Shepstone is amazing and they will for ever be remembered for this.
“Some actually went door to door distributing bottled water. This speaks volumes of their efforts,” she said.
The Port Shepstone Business Forum, headed by Dr Ayoub Bux, facilitated all distribution efforts and helped the local government to communicate with the public.
“The forum – together with Ugu, religious organisations, NGOs and the business community of Port Shepstone – initiated and co-ordinated the supply of drinking water to as many people as possible. Large quantities of bottled water were also supplied to commuters at the taxi rank, and to communities in the rural areas,” said Bux.
More than 1 million litres of water brought in
He said that in the last 10 days more than 1 million litres of drinking water had been distributed in the region.
“Affected communities were highly appreciative of this generous act of kindness in their hour of need. Some communities were without drinking water for more than two days. Many factories and other businesses had to close shop because of the high concentration of salt in the water. Boilers and other equipment could not function with salty water.
“Many employees were also laid off work because businesses had to close. We will be taking up these issues with Ugu so that we do not find ourselves in a similar situation in the future,” said Bux.
He said the business forum would like to extend a big thank you to Ugu and all those who worked tirelessly to supply drinking water to as many people as possible.
“We are also grateful to the youth that participated in the delivery of the water. May God bless you all. It was a remarkable community effort… and a positive sign for the future.”
By Nabeelah Shaikh. Source: IOL News