Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has told The Citizen it has no affiliation to any political party and helps all those in need irrespective of race, creed or colour.
This comes after the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal accused the NGO, providing humanitarian aid in South Africa and across the globe, of allegedly using food parcels to boost the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) Ward 12 Umhlathuze Local Municipality by-election campaign in the province.
The ANC PEC released a statement on Monday saying it “noted with disgust” the distribution of aid and sought clarification from the NGO’s founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
The ANC PEC said it noted different acts of social giving as stipulated by Islamic religious teachings over a number of years.
“We have witnessed the Gift of the Givers Foundation assisting communities that have been experiencing socio-economic challenges. It is with great disappointment that for the first time, we are witnessing the Gift of the Givers dishing out food parcels to supporters of a political party – and the IFP in particular.
“We are currently nursing a hope that the founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, will come out clean and explain the position of his organisation regarding what is happening in Ward 12,” the ANC PEC said.
Gift of the Givers response
Sooliman has since responded to the claims by the ANC PEC and said Gift of the Givers handed over a house and distributed over 100 food parcels in the presence of IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa in Mtwalume.
“We assist as best we can, wherever and whenever with the best of intentions with no political bias nor political ambition. Our neutrality and transparency is manifestly evident for all to see. This was a courtesy handover in lieu of the R250k the IFP contributed to the Gift of the Givers KZN Flood intervention.”
“Food parcels being distributed in an area to communities in need where it so happens that the local counsellor is from the IFP does not make us supporters of an IFP campaign, this is disingenuous, it seems the greater desperation is more from the ANC rather than anyone else,” Sooliman said.
No political affiliations
The well-loved founder said Gift of the Givers has an apolitical stance when assisting communities in various parts of the country – irrespective of the political party, the mayor or who the counsellor belongs to.
“We have assisted multiple areas where the predominant party is the ANC. We’ve had ANC ministers, premiers and mayor’s walking beside us in many projects, but not a single political party in our 30-year history saw that as taking sides politically.
“They’ve had the maturity to understand that logically and rationally. We are assisting Mayor Chris Pappas with boreholes in Umgeni Municipality currently. He is a DA councillor,” Sooliman said.
Sooliman said Gift of the Givers also had a request from the Premier of Free State, Sefora Ntombela, to assist with the dam disaster in Jagersfontein.
“She is from the ANC. We were called by the municipality in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to assist with the water crisis there, that municipality is led by the ANC.”
Sooliman reiterated that food parcels being distributed in an area to communities in need where it so happens that the local counsellor is from the IFP does not make Gift of the Givers supporters of an IFP campaign.
“This is disingenuous, it seems the greater desperation is more from the ANC rather than anyone else,” Sooliman said.
Meanwhile, the IFP also responded to the ANC claims against the Gift of the Givers.
“The ANC desperation has clearly reached boiling point and is both laughable and pitiful! The IFP understands the fear and the pressure the ANC is feeling in this province, following IFP’s recent victory in the latest by-elections.
“The IFP is calling on the ANC in KwaZulu Natal – which has long abandoned the people of Madlankala in Ward 12 – not to spread false propaganda and try to smear the name of the Gift of the Givers and the IFP,” the party said.
The IFP said the rendering of the humanitarian aid to needy residents of Ward 12 is the result of a request from several months ago by the city of uMhlathuze Municipality.