Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of the SA disaster relief group Gift of the Givers. Picture: THE TIMES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of the SA disaster relief group Gift of the Givers. Picture: THE TIMES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

Despite reports that the Western Cape was out of the danger zone‚ the Gift of the Givers has dispersed 120 tons of water from its Joburg office to parts of the drought-stricken province‚ saying some rivers and dams are virtually dry.

"The Western Cape drought is serious. Many don’t understand that as yet. Breede Valley‚ Drakenstein and neighbouring areas have reached Day Zero. There is no drinking water‚" says Imtiaz Sooliman‚ founder of Gift of the Givers.

"At many schools the taps have run dry already. There is no water for flushing toilets. Requests for assistance are pouring in from multiple institutions throughout the Western Cape region and we are delivering as fast as we can‚" Sooliman said on Monday.

The group responded to urgent requests for water from the provincial disaster management team at the weekend.

Four trucks left the Gift of the Givers offices in Bramley for the Western Cape on Monday morning and are expected to reach the dry areas by Tuesday.

The NGO plans to fill a further 42 shipping containers with bottled water and ship these from Durban to Cape Town on Tuesday.

It is also assisting communities in drilling boreholes to try to alleviate the situation‚ and says it needs funding to drill more boreholes.

The consignment that left Johannesburg for Cape Town on Monday will be stored in various government facilities.

"Distribution has been taking place to many institutions desperately requesting water. In essence when supply can’t meet demand then we are at Day Zero‚" Sooliman said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said last week that Cape Town would not hit Day Zero in 2018.

"I am happy to announce today that‚ provided we continue consuming water at current levels‚ and we receive decent winter rainfall this year‚ Day Zero will not occur in 2018. This means the taps will stay open in 2018‚" he said.

"Residents have responded magnificently…. Everyone played their part in this city-wide collective effort to keep the taps open‚" said Maimane‚ who has led the DA’s #DefeatDayZero campaign since the party’s City of Cape Town caucus voted that mayor Patricia de Lille should be relieved of the responsibility.

"The 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement‚ and outperforms many other cities across the world which faced severe droughts — including Sao Paulo‚ Melbourne‚ and the state of California."

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson had said that the council’s latest estimate of Day Zero was July 15, but he later said it was unlikely to arrive before November.