A brand-new water tanker rolled into town on Monday 19 July to serve the community of Makhanda. The 34 500-litre tanker is here through a partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) and Gift of the Givers. It will be a welcome boost to the three-tanker fleet that Makana currently mostly uses to service the communities of Fort Brown, Manley Flats, Salem, Alicedale and various informal settlements. The new tanker will be dedicated to providing relief for Makhanda.
“This is truly a lifesaver,” said Ramie Xonxa, who heads the Makana Council’s infrastructure portfolio committee.
“During the worst crises, we have had to hire tankers to supplement our own,” Xonxa said. “That has been a huge financial burden and this will be a huge relief and saving.”
At the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, a number of 5000-litre and 2500-litre Jojo tanks were installed at strategic locations in Makhanda communities without piped water.
“We haven’t been able to regularly fill these tanks,” Xonxa said.
In addition, the town has over the past few years experienced several lengthy water outages as a result of various technical faults at the main water treatment works.
Those facilities are currently being refurbished; however, with the drought rendering dams west of the town uneuseable, it will be months before there is capacity to meet the water needs of residents and businesses. Water is now supplied on alternating days from the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works. This is to ensure all the town’s reservoirs fill up so that residents and businesses in both high-lying and lower-lying areas are supplied on a regular basis through the gravity fed system.
The new estimate date by which the treatment works upgrade will allow the supply of enough water to meet the town’s current daily needs is the first quarter of 2022.
Eastern Cape Project Coordinator for Gift of the Givers Corene Conrad said the organisation was grateful for their partnership with Coca Cola that made it possible for them to secure the basic human right of water provision.
“We are lucky to have a partner such as Coca Cola in such difficult times, where businesses have been hard hit by Covid, and the drought has brought great hardship for communities in the Eastern Cape,” Conrad said. “And this is for the community.”
“We ask the community to protect this resource,” Xonxa emphasised. “It is for them.”
Nolundi Mzimba, Regional Public Affairs Communication and Sustainability Manager for Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) explained the partnership between CCBSA and the Gift of the Givers.
“CCBSA will provide the mode of transport to distribute water throughout the municipality to affected areas. At this stage, the partnership is for 12 months and this will be reviewed,” Mzimba said. “CCBSA is in the process of purchasing another water tanker to assist other areas experiencing water challenges.”
The business had invested R2 million over a period of five years in procuring the tanker and covering its operational costs.
“Water is the single largest natural resource that goes into our products,” Mzimba explained. “South Africa faces several major water challenges, the impacts of which are felt across all industries: water quality issues, aging infrastructure, increasing water scarcity, climate volatility, drought, and rising water pollution all pose significant risks, particularly to poorer, remote communities.
“At CCBSA, our aim is to contribute meaningfully to people and the planet by uplifting and improving the wellbeing of the communities where we operate. Our initiatives support economic growth, protect the local environment and advance the sustainability of communities.”
A brand-new water tanker was delivered for the Makhanda community on Monday 19 July 2021 through a partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) and Gift of the Givers. It has a capacity of 34 500 litres. Photo: Sue Maclennan
Helping in hard times
How had Covid-19 and the lockdown affected CCBSA as an organisation and what adaptations has the company made? GMDirect asked.
“Like many companies and institutions, CCBSA was truly tested in 2020,” Mzimba said. “Companies face different challenges – but nothing like this pandemic.
“While we were on our way to returning to profitability, the pandemic hit, and the strain on our people , communities and stakeholders was felt – and was mainly due to uncertainty.”
As a business, CCBSA had to work hard to bring back a semblance of normalcy and certainty, Mzimba said.
“By making quick decisions and communicating honestly, effectively and consistently,” Mzimba said.
“Furthermore, we continued with our duty to lend whatever help or resources we can to make the burden lighter to vulnerable communities and help those in need, while remaining safe and ensuring we do our best to help flatten the curve.”
THAT Tantyi reservoir 0%
Makana Municipality’s Communications Office now provides regular updates on the status of the town’s water supply via WhatsApps that are shared in community groups, and on its Facebook page. These updates include any current or planned shutdowns for repairs or maintenance; confirmation that it’s a “water on” day; and the levels of the town’s reservoirs.
Readers asked us to find out why the Tantyi reservoir’s level is inevitably 0%.
Here’s the answer, courtesy Makana Communications:
The Tantyi Reservoir does not get recharged during ‘ÓFF’ days like other reservoirs, because the outflow valves cannot close. It gets recharged during ‘ON’ times, then water flows to consumers immediately. If it were recharged, during ‘OFF’ periods, it would defeat the objective of restrictions, because the water would immediately flow out.
The procurement process for a service provider to remedy the problem has been undertaken.