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The Shoprite Group has dedicated its disaster relief fund to be used exclusively for water relief – all R1.4-million of it. In a statement the retailer said it had been inundated with customers who offered to donate bottles of water to drought-stricken areas in the country.

In response the company has made it possible for customers to add increments of R5 to their purchases at tills. The money will go towards the fund and the company said it would save them from having to pack and transport water donations.

“The money raised will be utilised to source water optimally and transport it in the most efficient way to provide help to those suffering in the crisis‚” the statement read.

The company has implemented various strategies to save water at its stores‚ distribution centres and its head office in the Cape Town suburb of Brackenfell. They have stopped washing their trucks and even placed 500ml plastic bottles in toilet cisterns at all supermarkets.

The announcement comes after farmers from Grabouw and Elgin donated 8 billion litres of water to Cape Town. This month the city’s water users will see tariff increases on their accounts in line with Level 6 water restrictions.

“We find ourselves in a truly unprecedented situation and‚ as a City‚ we have had to make some incredibly difficult choices. It must be emphasised that all water and sanitation revenue from the tariff increases goes toward water and sanitation services. The tariffs are linked to usage. The more you use‚ the more you pay‚” said deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

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