THE Nelson Mandela Foundation, Operation Hydrate and Proudly South African joined forces to launch the country’s biggest Water Drive to date, to bring much-needed and urgent relief to communities in drought-stricken areas across the country.
South Africa remains in the grip of its worst drought in over 100 years, despite the recent rains.
Dams and rivers are still dry or just merely filled, taps are running dry and beleaguered communities continue to call for urgent help.
“Operation Hydrate has already collected and distributed over three million litres of urgently-needed drinking water to drought-ravaged communities in various provinces.
“We cannot ignore the immediate need of South Africans who are dying of thirst,” said Operation Hydrate’s Yaseen Theba.
The organisation, driven by community volunteers, will host Water Drive with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Proudly South African from Friday, 29 January, to Sunday, 31 January.
Water drop-off times will be from 09:00 to 17:00 on all three days.
“Operation Hydrate is an appeal to all of us to respond to the call to keep Nelson Mandela’s legacy alive.
“We know it’s a small gesture but every drop counts to help destitute communities who have no drinking water,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Members of the public and corporate South Africa are invited to drop off sealed 5 litre bottles of drinking water during the three-day Water Drive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation at 107 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg. Trucks will be on standby.
“We are calling on South Africans to once again be of service to humanity and respond to the basic needs of our fellow South Africans.
“Let’s contribute and make every day a Mandela Day! We cannot, in good conscience, sit back and do nothing when people are dying of thirst,” said Proudly South African’s CEO, Adv. Leslie Sedibe.
Due to health and safety regulations, no tap or borehole water can be accepted as drinking water.
Operation Hydrate’s Yusuf Abramjee said a local water company, Thirsti, will also be selling bottles of water on site at cost price, for those who wish to visit the Foundation on the day and contribute to the humanitarian cause.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which houses Madiba’s former office, also has a permanent exhibition on his life as well as a temporary photographic exhibition.
Madiba’s prison notebooks and the Nobel Peace Prize form part of the exhibition. The Foundation will be open to visitors during the Water Drive.
“We appeal to the public, businesses, corporates and schools to participate in the Water Drive by visiting the Foundation and donating water or funds to the efforts.
“Those who are too far to travel to the Foundation can make financial contributions towards Operation Hydrate,” added Sedibe.
Operation Hydrate volunteers have been out in full force in recent weeks to supply drinking water to communities where taps have run dry.
“Volunteers continued to distribute water to communities in the Free State, Eastern Cape and North West in recent days and over the weekend.
Theba said: “We urge the public to come out in their thousands to the centre, bringing water and/or cash to buy water for those in need.
“Let’s continue to quench the thirst of millions of fellow citizens.”