Santam rolling out assistance for drought-stricken Grahamstown during the fest

3 min read 06 October 2017

Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, is coming to the aid of drought-stricken Makana Municipality, with the donation of 100 eco-roller water drums.

The Makana Municipality, which incorporates the historic town of Grahamstown, is at the centre of a stifling drought that has hit some parts of the Eastern Cape. According to reports the municipality has 125 days or less of useable water to go until Day Zero. Although recent rains have brought some relief to the drought-stricken Eastern Cape municipality, the region remains in dire straits. At the beginning of the year dam levels were reported to be at 19%. It is expected that the upcoming Grahamstown Arts Festival (28 June – 8 July) will put further strain on the Municipality’s water resources.

The drums can store 75 litres of water and will allow community members the ability to walk long distances.

John Lomberg, Santam’s Head of Stakeholder Relations, said the donation was part of the company’s long-standing relationship with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality in the Partnership for Risk and Resilience (P4RR) programme. Makana local municipality falls under the Sarah Baartman District municipality. In an area where most people have a limited potable water supply nearby, mechanisms that make collection easier are imperative. Lomberg added that Santam aimed to continue to use its P4RR initiative to make a significant contribution to improving risk in vulnerable communities.

“Our P4RRinitiative involves the proactive collaboration with vulnerable municipalities to build their resilience.  Makana is one of 53 municipalities we partner with, and previous efforts in the area have included training fire-fighters and donating R400 000 of fire-fighting resources to improve disaster management capacity. With disasters like the drought still devastating municipalities, we need to pull together to assist those most dramatically impacted by it,” he said.

P4RR was started in 2012 and helps vulnerable municipalities mitigate against risk from fire, floods, drought and storm surge hazards. It does this by empowering municipalities through resources and disaster management training. 

Acting Municipal Manager Ted Pillay says that the water crisis shows no sign of abating.

“At current demand, Day Zero is estimated to be just days away. Water management is one of the basic services we’re trying to address in Makana. The distribution of eco-rollers to some of our most vulnerable citizens will go a long way to helping to ensure they have sufficient water every day. The rolling functionality makes water collection much easier,” he said.