a little money. WE took the kids from Dixie to a film in Nelspruit and
recorded the whole experience. Then we raised a little more money and
gave all the kids Christmas presents and gave the whole village a
Christmas lunch which WE broadcast LIVE. These projects were highly
successful in every way, and this success made us quite confident ...
maybe a bit over confident.
reticulated water service to the home that we all take for granted. They
are forced to make do with a few 'stand pipes' in the village which are
unreliable at best. WE entered the Amazee race and came second and
third which entitled us to a $5,000 donation. The effort by our audience
to get as many members of our Amazee project as possible was nothing
short of miraculous. People all over the world worked tirelessly around
the night to get their friends and families to join the project.
Although we did not win first prize it was an amazing achievement.
We always knew this, and set about trying to raise much more money,
knowing that it could not come from our audience. A large NGO was
approached, who 'do' these kind of projects, and they indicated that
they would be able to raise the necessary funds fairly easily after we
had done two things: (1) gotten permission from all the stakeholders,
and (2) a thorough and accurate costing of the project. They also made
it clear that they would not get involved in any project that any
element of corruption involved. So if we needed to bribe anybody to get
the permissions then they could not be involved. Very understandable, I
happen. The municipality, while not very well organized, have no reason
to withhold permission and after all this project should really be their
responsibility. However, the chief, a Mr. Hosni Mnisi, of the area
under which Dixie finds itself, simply does not provide his all
important permission to any project unless there is 'something in it for
him'. There is actually far more to this story, which is the subject on
an entire book about the traditional leadership of South Africa.
also because he hates Rexon with a passion, because
Rexon successfully won a high court case several years before preventing
this man from disposing of Dixie land for his own benefit. So our
association with Rexon, by virtue of the fact that he worked for us,
made it even harder.
necessary permissions that we could not, and (b) chose to involve
themselves with this project. Some 6 months or so after our initial
meeting they sent through a letter from the Dixie Community Forum
granting permission to the 'water for Dixie' project. Of course this
permission was 'not enough' and although I have not spoken to the
Buffelshoek Trust recently, I can only assume that they have not been
able to get the chiefs unconditional support.
pump. Those promises did not materialize and the bowzers were late
and irregular. The people were suffering, and yet we had the $6,130
available specifically to provide water ... something had to be done. So
Emily and Rex got to work. Please read Emily's Blog all about what
happened, and how some of the money was spent.
the status quo while we tried to figure out how to get the full project
back on track. In the meantime Rexon was fighting a complex and
incredibly important battle to wrestle control of the land from the
traditional leader (the chief) and into the hands of the people. This
convoluted and complex story, which I still do not fully understand and
is certainly a subject of a book, culminated in a constitutional court
decision. It's possible, but by no means certain, that this decision
could result in a constitutional amendment which would remove any power
of the traditional leaders over the land. In turn this might mean that
the only permission that is required to get the 'water for Dixie'
project back on track would be the municipality and the Dixie community.
We are awaiting clarity on this and will share that clarity when we
has been water over the past few years. There are some broken pipes,
which connect a few other stand pipes, but these pipes have been broken
for some years now. However, the diesel necessary to run the pump, that
we replaced earlier in the year, is unreliably supplied by
the municipality. Therefore sometimes the pump does not run because
there is no diesel to run it. (Yesterday there was 20 liters of diesel
at the pump). At least part of the problem is that there is no safe
place to store the diesel, to make sure that it is only used for the
pump and not for any personal uses. There is a small concrete building
where the diesel used to be stored, but the lock on this building has
gone, and the door broken off.
court decision. In the short term we are going to replace the door and
lock on the small 'diesel house', and then buy some diesel as and when
the municipality don't deliver. There are some real risks here. One of
which is committing to making sure that come what may we will make sure
that there is always diesel in the house. You can imagine that a
'bottomless barrel of diesel' risks being abused, and soon the money
would run out. And that money was meant to supply water to the people
not diesel to individuals. So a careful approach to this is required.
The important thing is that the money raised for the 'water for Dixie'
project will all be spent on keeping the water flowing in Dixie.
project. I have also learned some lessons. Firstly, that WE are not an
NGO. We do not know how to be an NGO, and cannot become one, but WE must
help the communities that share the land WE all enjoy so much.
Secondly, it is better to not hold back anything, no matter how
sensitive you think that information is, because some people are
suspicious when you do not share everything you know. This seems to be
seriously worsened when there are private donors concerned, and I
completely understand that.