Residents And Organisations Assist KZN Communities With Over R350,000 Worth Of Supplies During The Unrest

Community members filled trolleys and collection points at various shopping centres to support communities in Mooi River and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal that were affected by the riots and unrest that took place. Trucks filled with supplies departed Gauteng on 22 July and were safely escorted by Blue Hawk Tactical, which provided the security as its donation to the initiative.

The truck that was filled with supplies, flanked by security.

The project was initiated by Greenstone Hill resident Hilton Myburgh, along with another Greenstone Hill resident and a Bedfordview resident who both wish to remain anonymous, as well as DA and Bedfordview Ward Councillor, Jill Humphreys. Myburgh, who is originally from Pietermaritzburg, has family in the area. After seeing news reports of the destruction, Myburgh spoke with the other Greenstone Hill resident, who is also the MD of a logistics company, about how they might need to assist their family members in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This led to a conversation about what they could do to help in a wider capacity and where to focus.

The services of the logistics company warehousing and packing capabilities, together with a truck with a 12m container and driver, were provided pro-bono. Their primary concern however, was the security of the vehicle, the driver and the load, as the unrest and violence was still prevalent at that time.

Residents And Organisations Assist KZN Communities With Over R350000 Worth Of Supplies During The Unrest
The supplies were collected at various outlets, including SPAR Bedfordview.

Myburgh then reached out to a Bedfordview resident for assistance. They were both very aware of the dire circumstances faced by large sections of the region that had been plundered or destroyed. What struck them most was the elderly queueing for 10 hours to get food and, in many cases, not getting any. After enquiring, they realised that many old age homes, clinics, orphanages, hospitals and animal shelters were in need of immediate help as they had just a few days of resources left.

Together with the Bedfordview resident, Myburgh worked on the overall logistics arrangements, such as identifying the central warehouse, liaison with their team in Pietermaritzburg, liaison between collection points and the logistics company for delivery of collections to the warehouse for packing, co-ordinating the convoys, etc.

They decided that Pietermaritzburg was a central point with adequate infrastructure to set up a relief distribution point for the region. They reached out to Humphreys, who has tirelessly built a massive collection of community networks. Very soon, the Bedfordview community was, once again, in full swing, generously donating for these desperate people. They agreed that if there was a way to demonstrate that anarchy and mayhem would not prevail, it was to help get the affected communities back onto their feet as quickly as possible.

This project took only 24 hours to get into full swing, and within 48 hours, the entire logistical component was in place. The Bedfordview community was unbelievable in their generosity. Within the first 48 hours, they had over 40 trolleys full of donations collected at local malls. They also had a single donation of R26,000 from a local company. Humphreys’ group of volunteers worked feverishly behind the scenes, while local mall management teams opened their malls (and hearts) to make it all work.

This community spirit ensured that around R350,000 worth of supplies were already distributed to the desperate institutions within five days. On request from their donors, they made sure the right people received help. ‘This is not the first time the Bedfordview community has stood up to be counted and in doing so has earned the gratitude of the entire Pietermaritzburg community, as much for the gesture as for the actual contribution. This was an incredible, combined community effort for which the people of Bedfordview can be proud of themselves. This is a great suburb with great people,’ said the resident.

‘We are very proud of the amazing people and their willingness to participate and contribute at all levels – whether as individuals making donations, our team organising and spending their valuable time running around to get the job done or businesses such as the logistics companies involved, who crucially undertook the specialist logistics planning and execution for us. We have now set up a team and network that will allow us to be able to respond and support any future projects of a similar nature, anywhere in South Africa,’ said Myburgh.

Humphreys said, ‘It has been so heartwarming to see our trolleys filled, one packet at a time, by the whole community – every one of us wanted to help. All logistics for this project were arranged through our DA networks.’

Humphreys extended her thanks to those involved, including:
– Bedfordview SPAR.
– Village View.
– Bedford Centre.
– The Neighbourhood Square.
– Thornhill.

She also thanked the following individuals: Michele Clarke, Tania Campbell, Alta de Beer, Wendy Derek Morgan, Colin McKenzie, Tumi Ramutloa, Diana Nedelcheva, Vanessa Thompson De Sousa, Lisa Correia, Gillian Peel, Bernita Brecklin de Gennaro and Nic Rossouw – Blue Hawk Tactical.

See the video of the supplies being unpacked at the warehouse here.

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