Chevrolet’s Utility bakkies and the Ute Force, the team of skilled professionals completing missions for communities that need them most, have brought permanent fresh water to more than 100 000 people in Mooiplaas, near Pretoria.
The permanent borehole connection was made possible by a team consisting of an electrician, plumber and various skilled workers, along with Chevrolet’s utility vehicles which transported critical components, including a 5 000 litre water tank.
“The Chevrolet utilities resurrected an earlier project by Save the Children Fund Gauteng that was never completed due to lack of funds,” says Tim Hendon, Chevrolet brand manager at GM South Africa. “The tragedy of the situation was that the community was attempting to grow its own vegetable crops to support itself and possibly grow a surplus for sale to the local supermarkets. The shortfall in funding meant they were left with a borehole that wasn’t connected and so they could not begin to help themselves. That’s a cornerstone of the Ute Force campaign; helping people to help themselves.”
The borehole project, Khula Ngwane, signifies that the Ngwane people should develop and help themselves. But without a functioning borehole Mooiplaas residents were walking kilometres to fetch water in plastic containers which they used for themselves and to grow the vegetables in the rocky terrain in the area. They also spent valuable time retrieving water instead of weaving the grass mats that they sell to support themselves.
Save the Children Fund Gauteng’s chairperson, Mapitso Malepa, recognised the value that could be gained by adding the finishing touches to the borehole project and contacted Ute Force project producer, Bridget Bolton.
“The borehole required an electrical connection, 5 000 litre water tank, and a very high stand to ensure good gravity-fed flow,” says Malepa. “These may be simple items and well within the reach of many of South Africa’s companies but the impact their installation has had on the community of Mooiplaas has been significant.”
“The people in Mooiplaas are now able to irrigate their crops,” says Bolton, “and may soon create the surplus crop the local supermarkets have expressed an interest in. There are more than 12 000 households in Mooiplaas with an average of nine people per household, which means that over 100 000 people have benefitted from the role that Chevrolet’s utilities were able to play in championing their cause for them.”
Linda Nkosi, resident of Mooiplaas and a local project leader, says that the Khula Ngwane project championed by the Chevrolet bakkies is having a major impact on the lives of Mooiplaas residents, many of whom are women and children.
“They are growing their own vegetables now and they sell some to women who sell them at the roadside,” says Nkosi. “There are supermarkets interested in buying the vegetables, such as SPAR, Pick n Pay, and Fruit & Veg City.”
This is the second project completed by Ute Force following the successful creation of a cricket pitch for Cowan High School in New Brighton in Port Elizabeth. Further projects are planned to be rolled out in the course of the year and all around the country.