According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, more than 21-million South
Africans do not have a regular supply of clean water. Clean water is vital in the fight against COVID-19 making access to clean water more urgent than ever. It has been
three months since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the country, and now
with winter upon us the numbers are beginning to skyrocket.
Magali Malherbe, Managing Director of MAMAS Alliance says: “Clean water is
absolutely critical especially now during this pandemic; from washing hands to
sanitising surfaces and also keeping hydrated. Lack of access in South Africa’s rural
communities compounds the struggle for the most vulnerable. Big business can assist
through strategic CSI partnerships.”
Boreholes being installed in communities, as a way of accessing clean water directly
underground, can solve a lot of these problems. Borehole water also assists
communities in creating and maintaining food gardens, which will sustainably
contribute to the health and wellness of many families. The garden’s produce can also
provide a source of income further contributing to a sustainable livelihood.
At the end of 2019, the MAMAS Alliance CSI team connected Water for All to one of its NGOs, Children of the Dawn where a borehole was successfully installed in the rural community of Mathabatha in the Limpopo province. Over the last few years, municipal water started to dry up at the pipes and would be available only for a day or two, then nothing. As a result, Children of the Dawn had to buy water which was brought by truck, stored at the organisation’s care centre in steel drums, and changed every few days. This was neither sustainable nor safe. It also prevented the organisation from continuing with their gardening activities.
Children of the Dawn National Programme Manager, Nabila Noor Mohamed says: “Our organisation supports over 100 orphaned and vulnerable children as well as their family members in this community so it was a huge relief for us when the borehole was finally installed. MTH Drilling was the first to hit water after a few unsuccessful attempts by other companies. The impact of just this single borehole is the difference between life and death for so many people. We are so grateful to our sponsor. Without funding from the big corporates, it would be exceptionally difficult to make it happen.”
Employees within the Atlas Copco Group, together with Rand Air and the Epiroc Group, run Water for All on a voluntary basis. The basis for the funding comes from voluntary employee donations, which are matched two times by all three companies. 100% of this money goes to funding projects that give people in need access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. The actual projects are carried out by partnering NGOs with expertise in water and with local
staff in the project country.
“Now, more than ever, large corporates, NGOs and individuals alike, need to come together, link arms and do whatever they can to contribute however they can, towards the betterment of citizens who have been plagued with injustices from
times past. I am confident that unity and a commitment towards betterment, both in corporate South Africa and, in our complement of everyday citizens will contribute to the greater good and essentially the survival of our vulnerable
communities,” says Bongani Ndlovu, Chairperson of the Water for All fund in the Sub Saharan region.