(Image: Flickr: Anthony Roderman)
Johannesburg, 28 January, 2016 – The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Operation Hydrate and Proudly South African are pleased to announce their decision to join forces to launch the country’s biggest “Water Drive” to date, in an effort 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, with no immediate prospects of the situation abating. While 2015 has been recorded as the driest year on record, recent weeks have seen record breaking temperatures claim several lives. Dams and rivers continue to recede, 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, but it’s unfortunately not enough. While we work on long-term strategies for drought relief and water provision, we cannot ignore the immediate needs of South Africans who are dying of thirst,” said Operation Hydrate’s Yaseen Theba.
“We need to all continue to join hands to ensure that we get water to where it’s most needed,” he added.
The organization, driven by community volunteers, will host a “Water Drive” with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Proudly South African fromFriday, 29 January to Sunday 31 January 2016. Water drop-off times will commence from 09h00am-17h00pm on all three days.
“It gives us great pleasure as the Nelson Mandela Foundation to be associated with an initiative in which South Africans, in a moment of crisis, help vulnerable fellow citizens. This is precisely the call that Madiba made when he said ‘it is in your hands’. Operation Hydrate is a call for all of us to respond to keeping 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, in 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 SA’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. A 5 litre bottle will be sold at R10 and a box will cost R40. Only cash will be accepted on site.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which houses Madiba’s former office, also has a permanent exhibition on Madiba’s life as well as a temporary photographic exhibition called “Between States of Emergency”. 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 Adv. Sedibe.
Operation Hydrate volunteers have been out in full force over 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 over recent days and over the weekend.
Theba said: “We appreciate the support from the Nelson Mandela Foundation. We want to keep Madiba’s legacy alive. Please support Operation Hydrate.”
Abramjee 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…Let’s make every day a Mandela Day.”
Details of the Water Drive are as follows:
DATE: 29-31 January 2016
VENUE: Nelson Mandela Foundation, Central Street, Houghton
MEDIA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Speakers and representatives from various organizations will launch the Water Drive and address the media at 9amon Friday, 29 January 2016.