Joanne De Freitas, CSI manager of SRSA (which manufactures the Dunlop, Falken and Sumitomo tyre brands), says that giving back to the community is an ongoing priority.

De Freitas adds that education is a key pillar of SRSA's corporate social investment strategy. When the SRSA team found Amancamakazana Primary School and saw that its 1 882 learners had no running water for five years, they were eager to get involved and assist with their water challenge.

The school is in the St Chads district of Ezakheni, which is nearly 15 km from the tyre manufacturer's state-of-the-art Ladysmith plant.

"Many parents of learners at the school are employed by SRSA at our Ladysmith factory and their hard work and commitment to the company makes projects like this possible," says SRSA CEO Lubin Ozoux.

"It goes without saying that drinking water and sanitation are basic human rights. Over and above this, water was desperately required to protect their staff and learners from Covid-19," adds Ozoux.

De Freitas says that, with the assistance of the borehole specialist team from Gift of the Givers, SRSA was given the green light to drill for a borehole at the school. The extensive process involved a hydrologist to assess that the area was suitable for drilling within the school grounds.

"We are grateful to the school's head mistress, Mrs Sibisi, for allowing the team to drill in five different areas of the school with their large drilling equipment, showing everyone's commitment to find water. It was a noisy and very dusty exercise on the school grounds, but on the fifth attempt, we hit water," she says.

SRSA says that borehole water samples were sent for bacteriological, chemical and physical tests to determine whether it could be used as drinking water or for sanitation purposes only.

"We are pleased to report that the water was passed for drinking water and complies with South African National Standards SANS241. This is a requirement for safe drinking water and the water needs to be regularly tested. The water is pumping at 1 200 litres per hour and has subsequently been rerouted through to all the taps, bathrooms and admin offices of the school," says De Freitas.

In addition, the water pipes have been extended with taps installed to supply water to the adjoining community. Overflow water will be supplied to the local community provided there is sufficient water supply and storage at the school.

"SRSA will continue to look for sustainable projects in 2022 and beyond. Our focus will be in the Ladysmith region and we will be carrying out future projects under our CSI Education pillar. We are committed to improving the quality of education and educational facilities in the district by supporting various projects," concludes De Freitas.

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