Drive to get donations to Southern Cape gains momentum

Cape Town - Calls for donations which are to go towards fire relief efforts in the Southern Cape are mounting with the city identifying four fire stations as drop off points where the public can donate goods.

City of Cape Town safety, security and social services mayoral committee member, JP Smith, said donations of non-perishable food, water, clothing, blankets and toiletry items were needed.

The drop-off points designated by the city are:

- Goodwood Fire Station, on the corner of Hugo Street and Frans Conradie Drive in Goodwood

- Strand Fire Station, on the corner of Broadway Boulevard and George Street in the Strand

- Roeland Street Fire Station, on Roeland Street in Central Cape Town

- Fish Hoek Fire Station, on Central Circle in Fish Hoek

Courier company DHL would also collect donations from the drop-off points and transport the items to Knysna, where raging fires have forced up to 10 000 people to be evacuated from their homes. 

Earlier on Thursday, DHL had contacted Western Cape officials with an offer to provide logistics and transport support for the fire relief efforts.

DHL has also published its own list of drop-off locations for the Knysna fire relief.

Disaster risk management officials would distribute items.

As the extent of the fires became clearer, a number of groups and organisations also pitched in to help.

'Helping hand'

The ANC called on South Africans to “to lend a helping hand” to those affected by fires and flooding. On Wednesday, hundreds of homes in the Western Cape were flooded during a major storm. 

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African National Zakah Fund, Working on Fire and many others also appealed on social media for South Africans to help out. 

Absa bank on Thursday donated R10m in disaster relief, as well as 5 600 tents usually used by cyclists during the Cape Epic mountain bike race.

Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers, meanwhile, has sent a 32-ton truck carrying bottled water to Knysna.

The truck was on standby to help drought relief efforts in Cape Town, and was later rerouted to Knysna. The relief organisation also dispatched ten emergency services personnel and two ambulances. 

Shoprite said on Thursday that non-perishable foods, water and blankets could be donated at any Shoprite or Checkers store in the Garden Route or Southern Western District areas.

Shoppers could also donate any amount towards its #ActForChange Fund at the till point in any Shoprite or Checkers store countrywide. "All of the fund's proceeds have been redirected to assist disaster management initiatives in Knysna until further notice," the group said in a statement.

Meanwhile, finance MEC Ivan Meyer said on Thursday morning he would invoke section 25 of the Provincial Finance Management Act to release emergency funds.

Meyer also called on the diplomatic corp to help with the relief drive.

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